Work & Paying Taxes

Understanding Your Rights: Lesson 2

More Rights for Working People

  • Most employers let employees take breaks.
  • Under Tennessee law, employers must give employees a 30 minute meal break if you work six hours or more. You might be paid for your meal break, and you might not. It is up to your employer.
  • The employer does not have to give you a meal break if you have lots of chances on the job to take breaks.
  • Tennessee employers do not have to give other breaks to employees.
  • People who are food and drink servers, and receive tips, can give up their meal break if they want to, but they must put that in writing. But as a tipped employee, you cannot be forced to give up a meal break. Some tipped employees do not take a break because they do not want to give up any money-making time.
  • Tennessee doesn’t have its own overtime pay law. But under federal law, and Tennessee follows that, employees must receive overtime pay for more than 40 hours worked in a week. Must: this is not optional for employers.
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