SR Client Question: Are employee meal breaks mandatory?

Employee meal breaks are generally required for most employees (although allowing your workers to eat suspended in the air on a steel truss is not recommended!). 

Familiarity with your state’s meal break regulations or even the regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is essential for most employers.  For example, some states not only require at least a 30-minute meal break, but they also define the time of day in which the meal break must be given.  Fines and penalties can be imposed for missed meal breaks. 

This link provides a list of states with meal break requirements.  It is important to have a policy in place not only to meet federal and state regulations, but also to encourage productivity in the work place.  According to this article from there are six factors every meal break policy should cover:

  1. Duration of meal break
  2. Scheduling meal breaks
  3. Breaks as accommodations
  4. Pay for meal breaks
  5. Second meal break
  6. Work during meal breaks

It is important to have a policy in place to ensure you are meeting federal/state regulations and your employees are getting the breaks they need during the day.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.