If New Jersey employers choose to give employees rest or meal periods, they must follow federal law. Federal law states that short breaks, usually between five and 20 minutes, are common and promote employee efficiency. Such short breaks are considered compensable work time that should be included in the total number of hours worked during the week. However, these breaks must actually be taken and may not be offset against other working time. They may also not be extended beyond the amount of time prescribed by the employer.