From the Hotline: New Hampshire Meal and Rest Break Rules

Question: What are the meal and rest break rules (both federal and state) for New Hampshire?

Answer: First, the federal law.  Federal law does not require lunch or coffee breaks. However, when employers do offer short breaks (usually lasting between 5 to 20 minutes), federal law considers the breaks as compensable work hours that would be included in the sum of hours worked during the work week and considered in determining if overtime was worked. Unauthorized extensions of breaks need not be counted as hours worked when the employer has clearly communicated to the employee that the authorized break may only last for a specific length of time, that any extension of the break is contrary to the employer’s rules, and any extension of the break will be punished.  With respect to the meal periods (typically lasting at least 30 minutes), the federal rules recognize that the longer break is are not work time and is not compensable.  (

New Hampshire rules do not address rest periods, only the lunch period.  Under the New Hampshire rules, an employer cannot require that an employee work more than five consecutive hours without granting a thirty minute lunch or eating period. If the employer cannot allow thirty minutes, the employee must be paid if they are eating and working at the same time.  (