What Is Walmart’s Meal Break Policy?

If you’re a current or prospective Walmart employee, then you might be wondering what exactly Walmart’s policy is on employee shift breaks. Are shifts mandated? How many hours do you have to work to qualify for a lunch break?

Walmart enforces the following break schedule for hourly employees:

  • If an employee is scheduled to work a shift that lasts up to 5 hours, that employee is expected to take one paid 15-minute break during their shift (lunch breaks are not permitted for employees who work 5 hours or fewer per shift)
  • If an employee is scheduled to work a 6-hour shift, that employee is required to take one 15-minute breaks (paid) and one 30-minute lunch break (unpaid)
  • If an employee is scheduled to work a shift of 7 hours or more, that employee is required to take two 15-minute breaks (paid) and a one-hour “lunch” break (unpaid)

Walmart Break Policy

Some other notes:

  • Breaks typically cannot be taken within one hour of the beginning or end of your shift
  • Lunch breaks at Walmart must last at least 30 minutes and be taken “off the clock”
  • All 15-minute “rest breaks” at Walmart are considered compensable (you get paid for them)
  • Employees who are under the age of 18 are required to take a 30-minute lunch break for all shifts that are 5 hours or longer

Keep in mind that break policies may vary in certain Walmart stores depending on state regulations. For example, the State of California requires that 15-minute breaks be started over if interrupted for any reason. Whether or not Walmart stores in California enforce this regulation is unclear, however.

Walmart’s break policy is not explicitly governed by any one state or federal policy. In fact, US federal labor laws don’t even require companies to offer meal breaks to employees.

What Is Walmart’s Lunch Break Policy?

Walmart requires employees who work shifts of six hours or longer to take an unpaid lunch break for at least 30 minutes.

Employees 18 years old or younger must take a lunch break of at least 30 minutes after working for 5 hours.

All lunch breaks at Walmart (any break that lasts for 30 minutes or longer) is considered non-compensable, meaning that employees are not paid for these breaks.

While this may seem like bad news, there’s actually a silver lining. Since you aren’t clocked in during your lunch break, you can use that time however you wish. This means that if you need to go home, run errands, or do anything else off of Walmart’s premises during that time, you are more than welcome to do so.

Full-time Vs. Part Time

Walmart’s lunch break policy is determined by the number of hours you work per shift, not the overall number of hours you work in a week or month. In other words, your full- or part-time status as an employee should have no effect on your lunch breaks at Walmart.

To receive a lunch break at Walmart, you simply need to work for six hour or more during a single shift.

Breaks for Employees That Are Under 18

If you’re a minor (someone under the age of 18) who works at Walmart, the break policy works a bit differently. The key difference is that while adult employees are only required to take an unpaid lunch break if they work for six hours or longer, minors are required to take a lunch after just five hours. As long as your lunch break is at least thirty minutes long, then you will be in compliance with the policy.

Does Walmart Pay Employees During Lunch Breaks?

The question of paid and unpaid breaks can be a little confusing for Walmart employees. This is because, depending on the length of your break, you will sometimes be compensated while other times you won’t be.

Here’s how it works…

Any break that lasts longer than 15 minutes must be taken “off the clock.” This means that employees are required to clock out during all lunch breaks, whether they last for 30 minutes or a full hour.

Breaks that are 15 minutes or less can be taken “on the clock” as they are considered compensable.

Is The Walmart Break Policy Strict?

Like all large corporations, Walmart doesn’t have much of a choice when it comes to enforcing a strict break policy.

This is because many state labor regulations mandate that workers receive breaks at certain intervals. If these rules aren’t followed closely, Walmart could face major consequences for labor law violations.

Even if an employee wants to volunteer to skip their breaks, Walmart could still face consequences. Therefore, it is not worth it for Walmart to allow loose enforcement of their break policy.

However, it’s interesting to note that federal labor laws in the US do not mandate any form of break for meals or any other purpose.\

Another reason why Walmart’s break policy is so strict could be that they are working to prevent unnecessary overtime. By requiring employees to clock out for one hour during each 8-hour shift, Walmart keeps a close watch on the amount of labor each worker is accruing during each pay period.

Because Walmart is required to pay overtime to any worker who accrues more than 40 hours in a work week, it’s beneficial for the company to make sure workers don’t exceed this amount of hours.


Can you skip lunch breaks at Walmart?

No. All Walmart breaks are mandatory, including paid 15-minute breaks. Walmart strictly enforces their break policy to cooperate with state labor laws and to cut down on unnecessary overtime for individual employees.

Are rest breaks compensated at Walmart?

Yes. The 15-minute breaks taken by Walmart employees are compensated. Breaks that last 30 minutes long or longer are not compensated.

How many breaks do you get in a 5-hour shift?

One. Shifts that are five-hours long or shorter include one paid 15-minute break.

Is the lunch break policy the same with overnight workers?

Yes. Anyone who works a shift longer than 6 hours receives an unpaid “lunch” break for one hour regardless of what time of day it is.


Walmart’s break policy can feel a little confusing at first, as there are a lot of ins and outs. But when you break it all down, it’s really pretty simple. All employees who work shifts that last at least four hours are required to take breaks, and the longer you work, the more breaks you’re expected to take. Almost every shift you work at Walmart will include at least one fifteen minute break. If you work for six hours or longer, you will be required to take an unpaid lunch break of at least thirty minutes as well as two paid fifteen minute breaks. Walmart does enforce their break policy pretty strictly as this allows the company to avoid paying unnecessary overtime. It also helps to ensure that the company is always in accordance with state labor laws, which vary a lot by location. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.