Meal Break Laws
While many employers provide employees with a meal break, whether paid or unpaid, this is not required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, some states have stepped in to require such breaks. As an employer, you are not required to pay your employees for break time unless:
- Your state's law requires paid breaks
- Your employees have to work through a break
- Your employee’s break lasts 20 minutes or less, as these shorter breaks are generally considered part of a work day and must be paid
State Meal Break Requirements
Less than half of the states require employers to provide a meal break. For those states that do require meal breaks, this means that employees who work more than 5-6 hours at a time generally must be allowed to take 30 minutes to eat. Although, some states prohibit employers from giving this time off near the beginning or end of the work shift. Learn more about your state’s meal break laws at the Department of Labor's website: www.dol.gov/whd/state/meal.htm.
How Blueforce Can Help You Ensure Compliance with State Meal Break Laws
Ongoing monitoring and enforcement of meal breaks reduces the likelihood of being held liable for things like missed, shortened or late meal breaks. Employers can use Blueforce to:
- Track and monitor meal and break compliance in real time
- Get real time alerts when meal break violations occur
- Provide employees with automated meal break reminders at punch-in
- Employ meal break safeguards when automatically deducting time or when violations occur
- Factor in multi-shift rules
Additionally, built-in labor analytics and ad-hoc reports in Blueforce can help employers identify employees, managers, and/or worksites that are frequently out of sync, allowing for training and corrective action. Reports in Blueforce also document an employer’s ongoing effort to maintain labor law compliance, serving as a powerful tool in the event of a lawsuit or labor investigation.
New Meal Break Features in Blueforce
On top of the existing meal break features mentioned above, now Blueforce gives employers increased visibility into meal break exceptions, allowing supervisors to analyze the reason for exceptions so they can take appropriate action.
Blueforce identifies meal break exception punches (for employees who take long, short, late or no meal breaks). The existing Timecard Report displays these “Meal Break Exception Punches.” In addition, the Status column in the Timecard Report shows the “Exception Meal Break Alert Status.”
A new filter named “Show only lunch punches with alerts” has been added to the Timecard Report, which will only display the Meal Break Exception Punches. When the “Show only lunch punches with alerts” filter is selected, an additional filter is made available, allowing for further filtering of timecards based on “Meal Break Alert Status.”
For more information on meal break features in Blueforce, contact your Client Relationship Director or call EPAY Technical Support at 312-212-8000 ext. 2.