Are meal and break periods putting your company at risk for wage and hour violations? More importantly, meal and break periods may be costing your organization thousands each pay period in increased wages, overtime and lost productivity. If you’re not using a web-based time clock or time and attendance solution to track your break periods, you’re likely at risk. Fortunately, through technology you can minimize the cost and risk of non-compliance penalties.
Are you at risk as an employer?
Before addressing the cost of break periods, let’s touch on the compliance risk. One of the most common sources of wage and hour violations with the Department of Labor involves employee breaks and meal periods. Working through lunch is perhaps the most frequent issue. Disrupting or preventing eligible employees from taking full breaks is another.
Often, employers don’t fully understand both the federal and state guidelines required by law to be compliant. In other cases, the employer may have poor tracking systems, policies or a work culture that can put the company at risk for a complaint or violation. Most commonly, supervisors simply don’t understand the law and/or cross the line. This puts the employer at risk for serious compliance violations, penalties, or minimally, unhappy employees and turnover.
Are break and meal period costing you thousands?
On the other hand, meal and break periods often cost employers thousands every month due to inadequate tracking, lost productivity and overpaid wages. Tracking meal and break periods has always been a bit complicated for employers, particularly the break period. Generally, breaks are paid time, but what if the employee needs to run an errand that takes longer than the allotted 15 minutes? Are these minutes sorted on the timesheet as paid and unpaid? What if employees are simply in the habit of taking longer breaks than what’s permitted? Is there a system in place to track this? If not, who pays the difference when tracking is not accurate? Clearly, it’s the employer!
Due to countless circumstances, employees often fall into the habit of arriving late and leaving a few minutes early. It’s also common for employees to take longer breaks than what’s permitted. The employee may or may not be aware, but these minutes add up quickly, often creating 5 to 25 minutes per day per employee of lost productivity or overpaid wages. With time and attendance tracking, this challenge can be solved.
Supervisors may be unaware, may not have the tools, or simply don’t want to strain relationships by constantly nagging employees to keep meals and breaks punctual. This is one reason why having an automated system that conveniently positions employees to be accountable is so important. Even 5 to 25 minutes per day, per employee can cost employers thousands each month in increased wages, overtime, productivity and payroll taxes.
Timekeeping Technology is the Solution
If you’re not currently or accurately tracking meal and break periods, you’re most likely losing both on productivity and wages. Many employers apply a break period automatically, which is a risky practice for compliance and productivity. With a simple, affordable online timekeeping solution, however, this challenge can be minimized. Common tracking issues with breaks include:
- Determining which employees are eligible for break periods.
- Tracking the criteria to earn the break.
- Automating paid and unpaid time if the employee takes a longer break period.
Contact 941 Timekeeping
Managing your meal and break periods can produce tremendous savings both from a wages and compliance perspective. Through an online time and attendance solution, you can begin to realize savings in these areas. Contact 941 Timekeeping to learn more about our automated time, labor and scheduling software solutions.