Contrary to what some employers and possibly many employees believe, no federal or Texas law requires employers to provide lunch, coffee or other breaks for employees.
Research has shown that employee productivity improves when workers have breaks and, for that reason, most employers do offer at least a 30-minute meal break and two 15-minute breaks during a work shift.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does mandate that workers be paid for any break that is less than 20 minutes long, so employees who get 15-minute breaks must be paid for that time. However, that only applies if the worker leaves his or her work area. If an employee is available for work during a meal break, that time also must be paid.
At Lloyd Ward & Associates, we work closely with our clients to set up time-off policies that will be beneficial to the business owner as well as the employees.
Establish break time policies
In instances where there may be no legal requirement, it is still good practice to set out formal written policies so that workers understand what is expected of them and what they can expect in return. Those policies can cover:
- Work hours
- Sick pay
- Coffee and lunch breaks
- Paid holidays
- Vacation policy
- Maternity, adoption and parental leave and pay
Your company’s policies depend on the size and nature of your business. Setting standards not only reduces the need for disciplinary and legal action, it is also likely to increase productivity and morale among employees.