Federal/state laws regarding overtime and breaks

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Federal/state laws regarding overtime and breaks

I am working an event where I’m working about 12 to 13 hours a shift, cashiering at a food stand. I was told that I cannot leave my till at all, so basically saying that for 12 hours I cannot leave the stand, not even for bathroom breaks or to eat. I’m having a hard time believing that it’s legal for them to ask that of me.

Asked on July 26, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Federal law does not require breaks. Wisconsin law only requires breaks for minor (i.e. less than 18-year-old) employees, not for adult employees: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/er/labor_standards/breaks_and_meals.htm So it may well be that you are not entitled to any breaks an they can require you to not leave for 12- 13 hours straight. 
You are entitled to overtime if you are an hourly (not salaried) employee whenever you work more than 40 hours in a workweek. It does not matter how many hours you work per day--only weekly hours matter. All time past 40 hours, if you are hourly, in a week is overtime (time-and-a-half).
Remember: "employment at will" works both ways--if you find the job intolerable, undoable, or not worthwhile, you can quit whenever you like.

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