No federal law exists mandating minimum hours between work shifts. State laws provide mandatory time off for certain occupations deemed to be hazardous. Labor laws also exist to prevent children in school from being overworked and interfering with studies.
Federal Laws for Adult Workers
Federal labor law places no limitations on how many hours an adult may work during any one day and does not place mandatory minimums on the hours between shifts. Break times are also not guaranteed by law which means workers performing tasks for extended periods of the day do so at the risk of not being allowed to take a meal break. Federal law does place restrictions on the consecutive days an employee may work before having a day off. Every adult worker is entitled to at least one day off per seven day work week. An employee may waive this right if he chooses.
Child Labor Laws
Child workers ages 14-years-old to 15-years-old may not work during school hours. Additionally, these workers may not be scheduled between the hours of 7:00 p.m.to 7:00 a.m. during the school year and between 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. during the summer months. Minor workers age 16-years-old to 17years-old have no federal restrictions on hours between shifts but may not be scheduled for more than eight hours per day. States augment these federal requirements with additional labor laws to prevent workers 16-years-old to 17-years-old that are attending high school from being scheduled during class hours.
Certain occupations require a 24-hour rest period at least once a week to allow workers to recover mentally and physically. These positions require intense mental or physical focus. Truck drivers, elevator operators, machine workers, factory floor workers, restaurant workers and security personnel are required to have this time off. This prevents on the job injury due to worker fatigue and improves the morale of the staff. The employee may not opt out of this time off nor may she be called in to work during this 24-hour period.
Jonathan Lister has been a writer and content marketer since 2003. His latest book publication, "Bullet, a Demos City Novel" is forthcoming from J Taylor Publishing in June 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing and poetics from Naropa University.