Federal and state laws guarantee Ohio employees certain rights, including fair wages, safe working conditions, and freedom from discrimination. But there are some areas of employment where labor laws favor the rights of employers. Time between work shifts is such an area, with one major exception.
Ohio employers must obey federal labor laws, which are enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). However, federal law does not address time elapsed between shifts, leaving it in the hands of employers. The DOL also leaves the issue of break-times during a shift up to employers, stating that no employer is obligated to provide time for meal, smoking, or other breaks in most circumstances. However, if an employer does provide short breaks of five to 20 minutes, he must pay employees during this time. He does not have to pay employees for longer meal breaks of 30 minutes or more.
Ohio state law also favors employers when it comes to time elapsed between shifts, offering no statutes that deal directly with the issue for most employees. And, although some states have gone beyond federal law and require employers to provide meal breaks, Ohio also does not legally require these breaks. However, because most employees are at-will workers, they may quit a job at any time if conditions do not seem fair. But state law does regulate time between shifts and break periods for minors.
Ohio law protects minors from working multiple shifts without an adequate break. According to state law, minors may only work up to three hours on school days and up to eight hours on others. Thus, because a regular working shift typically lasts from six to eight hours, it is legally impossible for employers to demand multiple shifts in one day, virtually guaranteeing a significant break between working shifts. Minors are also guaranteed a 30-minute meal break for every five hours worked by Ohio's labor laws.