What to do if my employees fail to take their required breaks?

UPDATED: Mar 6, 2012

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What to do if my employees fail to take their required breaks?

I run a small retail company and I am having issues with my employees clocking out for their 30 minute lunch as required by law. They are usually very busy and don’t choose to take the break. How can I handle this so my company does not get held accountable for these breaks not getting taken? Is there some sort of waiver that the employees can sign so that in case they don’t chose to take or have time to take a lunch, we would be covered? Or am I able to have this 30 minutes automatically taken out of their pay?

Asked on March 6, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to review your own state's law regarding breaks. Many states require a mandatory unpaid time of leave for lunch and do not necessarily require clocking in or out. My experience has been the clock in and out method is a bit outdated and can cause these sorts of problems. You need to review the laws for employers, then review the laws for employees and see if the department of labor can point out or suggest any specific pamphlets, signs and waivers you can use in your retail company. The information is there, you just need to get it from the department of labor.

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