Regular breaks, including lunch and coffee breaks, are a great way to help your staff cope with the monotony of the workday. Although the U.S. Department of Labor doesn’t maintain or enforce any standards regarding the frequency or length of such breaks, the Department of Labor does require employers to compensate their staff for short breaks of 20 minutes or less. Lunch periods of 30 minutes to an hour, however, are non-compensable.

This can lead to some confusion on the job site, and often results in some employees taking longer breaks than others. If this is a regular occurrence at your company, consider these helpful tips to keep your workers motivated and productive.

Revise your policies and offer flexibility

Are your current policies too strict? Do you punish employees for returning five or ten minutes late from a break? If so, re-examine your policies, and if possible, offer some additional freedom. Not only does this give your employees more break time in general, it also gives them some flexibility when dealing with traffic delays or similar issues.

Establish expectations and set goals from the start

In some industries, punctuality and timeliness are an absolute requirement on a day-to-day basis. If you can’t revise these policies, at least make your expectations clear during the initial hiring and orientation process. You can also work with individual employees to set personal goals and help them maintain a stricter schedule.

Reward employees for perfect attendance and punctuality

Finally, try to make a positive example of those employees who are always on time. Offering certain incentives or perks, including longer break periods, is a great way to reinforce their behavior while giving your other employees something to strive toward.

Conversely, speak to those employees who aren’t meeting your standards. Simply ignoring the behavior and looking the other way could give them the idea it’s perfectly acceptable – and that’s the last thing you want.

How Automation Personnel Services Can Help You

The experts at Automation can help you with all your staffing needs, including those that involve attendance, punctuality and timeliness. For more information on the services we provide, contact us today!


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