SBM Articles


Break Time

by Jessica Sullins

Breaks provide employees with the opportunity to refresh and step away from their desks. Exempt employees tend to take a break when needed. However, employers must consider how to handle breaks for nonexempt, hourly employees.

Workload, hours worked and department all impact when an employee can take a break. Employers should create a companywide policy and communicate it to all supervisors and employees to ensure consistency in the workplace.

The survey says:
According to AAIM Employers’ Association’s 2017-2018 Policies and Benefits Survey of 95 St. Louis and central Illinois businesses, 54.4% of employers provide two breaks of 10 to 15 minutes (excluding meals) and 90% of those employers pay employees during those breaks. Furthermore, 63.1% of employers provide 30 minutes as the average meal period length.

What to consider:
• Tracking. It is important to track breaks, both paid and unpaid, to keep an accurate record of the hours employees worked in case there is ever a question.
• Pay. Any compensation rules the employer implements for employees’ breaks need to be in the handbook and communicated to employees.
• Consistency. Employers need to ensure they are consistently providing all employees with the same number of breaks and treating them fairly.

Jessica Sullins, PHR ( is on the Research and Solutions Team for AAIM Employers’ Association, which helps Missouri and Illinois companies manage their people and processes.

Submitted 3 years 249 days ago
Categories: categoryHR By The Numbers
Views: 1077