Breaks and Meal Periods

Employees should check with their supervisor for the specific meal and break periods in their department. In general meal periods vary in duration according to the needs of the department and the job schedule. Break periods may be formal (usually of 15 minutes duration) once or twice in a 7-8 hour workday; or informal (short periods of a few minutes now and then). Generally, breaks in large departments are formalized and those in smaller offices are informal. Service offices are expected to remain open during meal and break periods.

Massachusetts General Law requires employers to provide at least a 30 minute meal break for any employee working more than 6 hours in a calendar day.

The Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for break time to express breast milk for a nursing child for one year after the child’s birth. In addition, a private space, other than a bathroom, must be provided.

Contact: Please contact the Office of the Vice President of Institutional Diversity and Equity or the Office of Human Resources if you have questions about accommodations or if you need assistance in providing an accommodation.