State Law > Tennessee > Tennessee Meal and Rest Periods Law

Tennessee Meal and Rest Periods Law

 

Tennessee' Law regarding meal and rest period is codified in Title 50, Chapters 1, 2 and 5 of the Tennessee Code Annotated.

50-2-101. Prospective employee to be informed as to wages - Exceptions.

(a) As used in this section, "workshops and factories" includes the following: manufacturing, mills, mechanical, electrical, mercantile, art, and laundering establishments, printing, telegraph, and telephone offices, department stores, or any kind of an establishment wherein labor is employed or machinery is used; provided, that domestic service and agricultural pursuits are excluded.

(b) It is unlawful for any proprietor, foreman, owner or other person to employ, permit or suffer to work for hire, in, about, or in connection with any workshop or factory, as defined in subsection (a), any person whatsoever without first informing such employee of the amount of wages to be paid for such labor. Such amount agreed upon between employer and employee, or employee representative, shall constitute a basis for litigation in civil cases. This does not apply to farm labor. Nothing in this section shall apply to railroad companies engaged in interstate commerce and which are subject to the federal Railway Labor Act.

(c) The failure on the part of any proprietor, foreman, owner or other person in charge of any industry named in subsection (a) to so inform any employee of wages to be paid as provided herein is a Class C misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall be so construed as to preclude the employment of any person or persons on a "piece-work" basis or on commission basis.

50-2-102. Redemption of coupons or scrip.

(a) All persons, firms and corporations using coupons, scrip, punchouts, store orders or other evidences of indebtedness to pay their laborers and employees, for labor or otherwise, shall, if demanded, redeem the same in the hands of such laborer, employee or bona fide holder, in good and lawful money of the United States; provided, that the same is presented and redemption demanded of such person, firm or corporation issuing same, as aforementioned, at a regular pay day of such person, firm or corporation to laborers or employees; or, if presented and redemption demanded, as aforementioned, by such laborers, employees or bona fide holders at any time not less than thirty (30) days from the issuance or delivery of the coupon, or other such evidences of indebtedness to such employees, laborers or bona fide holder. Such redemption is to be at the face value of the coupon, or other such evidence of indebtedness; provided, that the face value shall be in cash the same as its purchasing power in goods, wares and merchandise at the commissary store or other repository of such company, firm, person or corporation aforementioned.

(b) Any such employee, laborer or bona fide holder, upon presentation and demand for redemption of the coupon, or other such evidence of indebtedness, and upon refusal of such person, firm or corporation to redeem the same in good and lawful money of the United States, may maintain in such employee's, laborer's or bona fide holder's own name an action before any court of competent jurisdiction against such person, firm or corporation, issuing same, as aforementioned, for the recovery of the value of such coupon, or other such evidence of indebtedness; and, if the plaintiff shall recover judgment in such case, it shall include a penalty of twenty-five percent (25%) of the amount due and a reasonable fee for the plaintiff's attorney for the attorney's services in the suit, all of which, as well as the costs, shall be taxed against the defendant.

(c) Nothing in this section is to be construed as to legalize the issuance or use of scrip.

50-2-103. Payment of employees in private employments.

(a) All wages or compensation of employees in private employments shall be due and payable as follows:

(1) All such wages or compensation earned and unpaid prior to the first day of any month shall be due and payable not later than the twentieth day of the month following the one in which such wages were earned;

(2) All wages or compensation earned and unpaid prior to the sixteenth day of any month shall be due and payable not later than the fifth day of the succeeding month; and

(3) For the purposes of this subsection, the final wages of an employee who quits or is discharged shall include any vacation pay or other compensatory time that is owed to the employee by virtue of company policy or labor agreement. This subdivision does not mandate employers to provide vacations, either paid or unpaid, nor does it require that employers establish written vacation pay policies.

(b) "Private employment," as used in subsection (a), means and includes all employments in concerns where five (5) or more employees are employed, except those under the direct management, supervision and control of the United States, of the state of Tennessee, any county, incorporated city or town, or other municipal corporation or political subdivision of the state, or any office or department of the state or general government.

(c) Nothing contained in this section shall be construed as prohibiting the payment of wages at more frequent periods than semimonthly.

(d) Every employer shall establish and maintain regular pay days as herein provided, and shall post and maintain notices, printed or written in plain type or script, in at least two (2) conspicuous places where such notices can be seen by the employees as they go to and from work, setting forth the regular pay day as above prescribed. Each employee must have a thirty (30) minute unpaid rest break or meal period if scheduled to work six (6) hours consecutively, except in workplace environments that by their nature of business provide for ample opportunity to rest or take an appropriate break. Such break shall not be scheduled during or before the first hour of scheduled work activity.

(e) The payment of wages or compensation of employees in the employments defined herein shall be made in lawful money of the United States or by a good and valid negotiable check or draft, payable, on presentation thereof, at some bank or other established place of business, without discount, exchange or cost of collection, in lawful money of the United States, and not otherwise.

(f) In case an employee in any such employment shall be absent from the usual place of employment at the time such payment shall be due and payable as above provided, such employee shall be paid the wages or compensation within a reasonable time after making a demand therefor.

(g) Any employee who leaves or is discharged from employment shall be paid in full all wages or salary earned by such employee no later than the next regular pay day following the date of dismissal or voluntary leaving, or twenty-one (21) days following the date of discharge or voluntary leaving, whichever occurs last. No employer shall, by any means, secure an exemption from this section.

(h)(1) Except as provided in subdivision (h)(2), each employee shall have a thirty- minute unpaid meal break if scheduled to work six (6) hours consecutively, except in workplace environments that by their nature of business provide ample opportunity to take an appropriate meal break. The meal break shall not be scheduled during or before the first hour of scheduled work activity. For purposes of this subsection (h), "meal break" means a rest break or meal period.
(2)(A) At the discretion of an employer, an employee who is principally employed in the service of food or beverages to customers and who, in the course of such employment, receives tips and reports the tips to the employer may waive the employee's right to a thirty-minute unpaid meal break.
(B) To waive the meal break, an employee shall submit a waiver request to the employer in writing on a form established by the employer as provided in subdivision (C)(i). For the waiver to be effective:
(i) The employee must submit the request knowingly and voluntarily; and
(ii) The employer and employee must both consent to the
waiver.
(C) An employer who intends to enter into waiver agreements with employees subject to this subdivision (h)(2) shall establish a reasonable policy that permits employees to waive the meal break subject to the demands of the employees' work environment. This policy shall be in writing and posted in at least one (1) conspicuous place in the workplace. The policy shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
(i) A waiver form that contains a statement that the employee acknowledges the employee's right, under state law, to receive an unpaid meal break of not less than thirty (30) minutes during a six-hour work period and that the employee is knowingly and voluntarily waiving this right;
(ii) The length of time the waiver will be in effect; and
(iii) Procedures for rescission of the waiver agreement by the employee or employer.
(D) An employer or employee may rescind a waiver agreement after providing notice to the other party. Such notice must be provided at least seven (7) calendar days prior to the date that the waiver will no longer be in effect.
(E) No employer shall coerce an employee into waiving a meal break. (Effective 5/17/2012)

(i) The department of labor and workforce development shall enforce the provisions of this section. Each employer, during normal business hours, shall make available to inspectors of the department specific wage and payroll records of its employees maintained on the premises that are pertinent to a written complaint. Records that are maintained off the premises or inaccessible shall be made available to the inspectors on a timely basis as agreed upon by the inspector and the employer.

50-5-115. Breaks and meal periods for working minors.

A minor must have a thirty (30) minute unpaid break or meal period if scheduled to work six (6) hours consecutively. This break shall not be scheduled during or before the first hour of scheduled work activity.

Breast milk

50-1-305. Unpaid break period to allow employee time to express breast milk.

(a) An employer shall provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant child. The break time shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee. An employer shall not be required to provide break time under this section if to do so would unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.

(b) The employer shall make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location in close proximity to the work area, other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her breast milk in privacy. The employer shall be held harmless if reasonable effort has been made to comply with this subsection.

(c) For the purposes of this section, "employer" means a person or entity that employs one (1) or more employees and includes the state and its political subdivisions.

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