One Day of Rest in Seven

The Law

Chapter 103.85 Wisconsin Statutes provides that: Employers operating factories or mercantile establishments (enterprises engaged in retail trade) in the State of Wisconsin must provide employees with at least one period consisting of 24 consecutive hours of rest in each calendar week. (See note below)

Who does this affect?

This section does not apply to janitors; watchmen; persons employed in the manufacture of butter, cheese or other dairy products or in the distribution of milk or cream; or in canneries and freezers; persons employed in bakeries, flour and feed mills, hotels, and restaurants; employees whose duties include no work on Sunday other than caring for live animals or maintaining fires, and any labor called for by emergency that could not reasonably have been anticipated.

In paper and pulp mills, this section does not apply to superintendents or department heads whose work is supervisory and not manual. It does apply to machine operators in paper and pulp mills, but in those mills it does not apply to millwrights, electricians, pipe fitters, and other employees whose duties include not more than five hours of essential work on Sunday, making necessary repairs to boilers, piping, wiring or machinery.

Effective July 14, 2015: This section does not apply to an employee who states in writing that he or she voluntarily chooses to work without at least 24 consecutive hours of rest in 7 consecutive days.


Upon joint request of labor and management, the department may grant modifications or waivers of this requirement. To request a waiver, address a written request to:

Labor Standards Coordinator
Equal Rights Division
PO Box 8928
Madison, WI 53708

Note: The law does not provide that the rest must be given every 7 days. For example, an employer may legally schedule work for 12 consecutive days within a 2 week period if the days of rest fall on the first and last days of the 2 week period.

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