Meal Periods and Work Breaks Policy

Effective Date:

April 2, 2019



Policy Review Date:

3 years

Issuing Authority:

Research Foundation President

Responsible Party:

Kate Malia

Contact Information:


Reason for Policy

New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) establishes guidelines for meal periods for non-exempt employees based on the length of the scheduled work day and on the time frame within which the work is performed. No other break or rest period is mandated by law.

Meal period guidelines are set forth in Section 162 of the New York State Labor Law. A copy of Section 162 is available on the NYSDOL website:

Statement of Policy

This document provides information on employee work breaks and state-mandated meal periods for employees working in New York State (NYS).

Meal Periods

The meal periods mandated by the New York State Department of Labor must not be waived. Employees must not be required to perform any work while they are taking a mandatory meal period.

Work Breaks

Work break periods of 10 or 15 minutes may be granted to non-exempt employees at the discretion of the department director or immediate supervisor.

Because these work break periods are considered time worked, the total break time granted may not exceed 30 minutes per day, per employee. These breaks are not mandated by state law, but must be administered consistently.

Breaks for Nursing Mothers

The New York State Nursing Mothers in the Workplace Law requires employers to provide at least 20 minutes of unpaid break time every 3 hours for all nursing female employees to express breast milk for up to 3 years after the birth of a child. Employees are allowed to use accrued leave time or work before or after their shifts to make up this time. Employers should also make reasonable efforts to provide a private location for mothers to express milk. Employees are required to give notice, preferably before returning to work after a birth, of their intent to use this benefit. For RF employees working in New York City (NYC) please see NYC Lactation Room Accommodation Policy for more information.


The following table outlines the responsibilities for compliance with this Policy:

Responsible Party


OM or designee

Ensure compliance with this policy.

RF Campus Human Resources Office

Work with managers or supervisors who receive lactation room accommodation requests.

VP of Human Resources

Develop and maintain the corporate policy.



Related Information

NYC Lactation Room Accommodation Policy



Change History


Summary of Change

April 2, 2019

Revised Meal Periods and Work Breaks policy to be consistent with policy template. Added language to Policy on Breaks for Nursing Mothers and added link to NYC Lactation Room Accommodation Policy.

October 27, 2008

Added policy on Nursing Mothers.



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