• Are employers required to offer breaks to all employees?

Michigan law does not require employers to provide breaks to employees who are 18 or older. Minors, on the other hand, are entitled to a meal or rest period. Michigan state law requires employers to provide employees under 18 with at least a 30-minute break if they continuously work more than five hours. 

Employers may choose to provide breaks and guarantee rest and meal periods in employment contracts, company policies, or employee handbooks. 

Michigan employers commonly offer two types of breaks: rest periods and bona fide meal periods. Rest periods are short breaks, usually between five to twenty minutes. Employees remain on the clock during short breaks, so this time is counted as paid work hours. Bona fide meal periods are longer than rest periods, usually at least 30 minutes. Employees do not get paid for the time they take for a meal break. Because of this, while on a meal break, workers must completely stop their work duties (although they need not leave the premises). 

If the employment contract between the employer and employee or an applicable company policy explicitly requires breaks, the employer must offer breaks and allow employees to take them under the terms of the agreement. If the employer does not, the employee may have grounds for a breach of contract action.

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