Does an employer have to pay an employee for break time?

Yes, if the break is less than 20 minutes.  If the break is more than 20 minutes, the employee does not need to be paid, unless the employee performs work during the break.  This happens more often than employers might realize:  the receptionist or secretary who takes a call during a rest break; the nurse who helps a patient or answers a question during a break; the helpdesk expert who addresses an issue during a break.  The time spent working during a break longer than 20 minutes is compensable.