What Are the Labor Laws in Illinois Pertaining to Breaks?

By Jeffrey Nichols
Most full-time workers in Illinois must receive a meal break during their shifts.

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Illinois labor statutes require most employees to receive a meal break during the workday. However, state laws do not contain any mandates concerning shorter rest periods during shifts, leaving that issue up to the employer. Employees may want to check with their employer before beginning a job to make sure they know when and for how long they can take a rest period.

Meal Breaks

According to Illinois law, any employee who works a shift of at least seven and a half hours must receive a meal break of at least 20 minutes. The employer does not have to pay employees for their time during the meal break. The meal break must take place no later than five hours into a shift.

Rest Periods

Illinois labor laws make no mention of rest periods during the workday. Only a handful of states require workers to receive paid rest periods, generally 10 minutes every four hours. Illinois employees may receive breaks as a matter of company policy or as a stipulation in a labor union's collective bargaining agreement with an employer.

Hotel Employees

Illinois labor laws give many hotel room attendants more rights concerning workday breaks than other employees. The relevant law applies to attendants who work for hotels in Illinois counties with a population of more than 3 million. Room attendants at those hotels must receive at least two paid rest breaks of 15 minutes each, as well as a 30-minute meal period, anytime they work at least a seven-hour day. Employers must pay attendants three times their usual hourly wage on any day that the attendants do not get the required breaks.


Illinois employees under age 16 get a longer meal break in accordance with state law. Minors must receive a meal break of at least 30 minutes no later than five hours into their shifts. Minors may work no more than three hours on school days, so on those days the employer does not have to provide a meal break.

About the Author

Jeffrey Nichols has been writing and editing since 1997. His work has appeared in the "Manassas (Va.) Journal Messenger" as well as daily publications in Pennsylvania and Illinois, covering sports, recreation, health and fitness, along with business and finance. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree and enjoys writing everything from practical articles to fiction.

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