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Last updated on: May 23rd, 2022

Hours & Pay Regulations

Normal Working Hours

The Fair Labor Standards Act defines the workweek as a fixed and recurring period of 168 hours comprised of seven consecutive 24-hour periods that do not need to coincide with the calendar week. It is adjustable only if the change is designed to be permanent. Each week is considered on its own for purposes of calculating overtime. The hours of two or more weeks may not be averaged.

Under state law, work time required to be paid at the regular rate of pay includes: time spent in mandatory meetings and training, except training required by the federal, state or local government; standby time on the employer’s premises; on-call time when the employee is engaged to wait; and travel time during the employee’s regular work hours other than travel between home and work.


Employees are entitled to payment at time-and-one-half their regular rates for all hours worked over 40 in a week. Overtime must be computed on a weekly basis, regardless of the length of the pay period. Hours worked may not be averaged over the pay period or used to offset shorter weeks. Private employers are not allowed to use compensatory time to avoid paying overtime to employees who have worked more than 40 hours in a week. In other words, private employers are not permitted to allow employees to carry overtime hours worked in one workweek to a subsequent work week by giving them paid time off.


Time Travelling

Ordinary travel from home to work need not be counted as work time. Special and unusual one-day assignments performed for the employer’s benefit and at the employer’s request is work time for the employee regardless of driver or passenger status. Travel away from home is work time when performed during the employee’s regular working hours. Time spent traveling on nonworking days during regular working hours is work time.


The time spent as a passenger on an airplane, train, bus, or automobile after normal working hours is not working time. The driver of a vehicle is working at any time when required to travel by the employer. Travel time from job site to job site, or from office to job site, is work time to be compensated. Activities which are merely incidental use of an employer-provided vehicle for commuting home to work are not considered part of the employee’s principal activity and therefore need not be counted as work time.


Employers must permit all employees working at least five hours to take a 30-minute uncompensated meal break. Meal breaks are not required to be paid if employees are completely relieved of their duties and the meal period is ordinarily thirty minutes in length. An employee who is required to perform any duties during the meal period is not “completely relieved of duties.” An employee may waive his or her right to a meal period upon agreement with the employer. Other breaks (such as 15 minute “coffee” breaks) are not required by law, but must be paid breaks if they are offered by the employer.


One Day of Rest in Seven

An employer may not require an employee to work seven consecutive days in a business that sells merchandise at retail. An employer may not deny an employee at least one period of twenty-four consecutive hours of time off for rest or worship in each seven-day period. The time off must be in addition to the regular periods of rest allowed during each day worked. An employer shall accommodate the religious beliefs and practices of an employee unless the employer can demonstrate that to do so would constitute an undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business. However, if an employee requests time off to attend one regular worship service a week, an employer may not require the employee to work during that period unless:

      • Honoring the employee’s request would cause the employer substantial economic burdens or would require the imposition of significant burdens on other employees required to work in place of the Sabbath observer; or
      • The employer has made a reasonable effort to accommodate the employee’s request.

Breast Feeding Break 
An employee may use the designation “infant friendly” on its promotional materials if the employer adopts a workplace breastfeeding policy that would consist of flexible work scheduling, including scheduling breaks and permitting work patterns that provide time for the expression of breast milk. The employer is required to provide a convenient, sanitary, safe, and private location, other than a restroom, allowing privacy for breastfeeding or expressing breast milk.


The employer is also required to provide a convenient clean and safe water source with facilities for washing hands and rinsing breast-pumping equipment located in the private location; and a convenient hygienic refrigerator in the workplace for the temporary storage of the mother’s breast milk.

Annual Leave

An employment contract or policy may require an employee to take annual leave by a certain date or lose the vacation (‘use it or lose it’), provided that the employee is given a reasonable opportunity to take the vacation. The employer must demonstrate that the employee had notice of such contract or policy provision.

Special Leave

Unpaid Leave
Employees may be eligible to take unpaid, job-protected, leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”). Please refer to main United States page for further details on this Federal law.
Jury Duty Leave

Employers must allow employees to take unpaid leave to appear as witnesses in court proceedings. Employers cannot penalize employees for taking court attendance leave. Employers must allow employees to take unpaid leave to serve as jurors. Employers cannot discharge employees because they take jury duty leave.

Voting Leave

It is the policy of this state to encourage voting by all eligible voters at all statewide special, primary, or general elections. To this end, employers are encouraged to establish a program to grant an employee who is a qualified voter to be absent from the employee’s employment for the purpose of voting when an employee’s regular work schedule conflicts with voting during the time when polls are open.

Donor Leave

State employees are entitled to up to 20 days of paid leave. (§54-06-14.4).

Elected Official Leave

An employer may grant unpaid leave to an employee who is a member of the legislative assembly to serve during any regular or special session or to attend a meeting of the legislative management or any of its committees. An employer may reduce or eliminate the payment of any additional benefits the employee normally receives while the employee is performing legislative service.

Pregnancy Disability Leave

The North Dakota Human Rights Act applies to all employers and prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, marital or public assistance status or participation in lawful off-duty conduct.

The definition of “sex” includes pregnancy, childbirth, and related disabilities. Pregnancy must be treated the same as other temporary disabilities, including with respect to the commencement and duration of leave, availability of extensions, the accrual of seniority and other benefits while on leave and job reinstatement.

Voluntary Emergency Responder Leave

An employer may not terminate, demote or discriminate against an employee who is late or absent from work because he or she was responding to a disaster or emergency in his or her capacity as a volunteer emergency responder. Exceptions apply to employers who perform critical emergency services during a disaster or emergency or where the volunteer emergency responder is considered critical to the employer’s operations. An employee responding to an emergency or disaster must make reasonable efforts to notify his or her employer if he or she will be late or absent from work. Any time missed by the employee is unpaid. Employers may request verification of the employee’s volunteer emergency service. These protections do not apply to volunteer emergency responders who are late or absent from work for more than 20 working days in a calendar year (except for involuntarily activated National Guard members).

Disclaimer: The material provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change. We endeavor to keep all material up-to-date and correct but make no representations about the information's completeness, accuracy, or reliability. Laws vary by jurisdiction and are subject to change and interpretation based on individual factors that may differ between organizations. The material is not meant to constitute legal advice and we suggest you seek the advice of legal counsel in connection with any of the information presented.