Businesses take care of their workers in many ways. They offer competitive salaries or strong hourly wages, provide robust health benefits, and even extend perks that allow for flexible work options. Other perks come in the way that they handle meals and breaks.

Manage meals and breaks

Per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), how you compensate meals and breaks differs, depending on what type of break you’re talking about.

In the case of short rest periods:

  • Usually about 20 minutes long, short breaks are considered part of worker’s normal work hours during a pay period.
  • Most employers pay workers during short breaks, though some have different rules about unpaid breaks.

Meanwhile, where meals are concerned:

  • They last half-hour or longer. In the eyes of the FSLA, meal breaks do not count as “work time.”
  • Therefore: employers do not legally have pay for meal breaks. As we mentioned above, many offer paid lunches as a perk.

Making sure employees clock in and out before and after breaks should not be a major issue.

Where most salaried employees are concerned, they don’t need to clock in/out before or after their breaks. Those that do are often helping their managers track breaks, and make sure they have enough employees to handle workflow.

However, when teams include hourly and salaried employees, or are mainly hourly workers, clocking in/out during breaks becomes more important:

  • It helps you make sure you have enough hands on deck at different times.
  • It also helps you keep an eye on overtime hours.

When things get busy, or you have to move the schedule around because employees are out, it can be harder to track who’s clocked in and out. An integrated time clock solution can help you avoid issues.

Many of today’s automated time clocks, including those from Icon Time, do much more than simply capture when employees clock in/out. They integrate with payroll, send you alerts, help you avoid time theft, and even accommodate your remote workers. Discover automated time clock solutions that fit today’s businesses of 25 or more employees.

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The connection between managing breaks and time theft

No one wants to lose sleep over time theft. Unfortunately, as many as 75% of organizations deal with time theft every year, according to the American Payroll Association (APA). And ignoring time theft does not make it disappear.

Let’s start with a single employee:

  • Imagine that their 30-minute paid lunch break becomes an occasional 45-minute paid break. No big deal?
  • What if the 45-minute paid lunch becomes a daily ritual that starts to extend to an hour because no one is keeping an eye on their clock ins/outs?
  • What if as many as 25 employees start doing the same thing?

How much would you stand to lose each pay period? How about over the course of a full year? And beyond lost revenue, how would this affect your ability to schedule shifts, and make sure you have enough people on the clock at different times throughout the day?

An advanced time and attendance solution, such as Icon Time’s suite of time clocks, can help you eliminate these types of concerns.

When you rely on a next-gen time clock solution, you can reduce the number of missed clock punches, do away with unauthorized break time, and solve other issues related to potential time theft:

  • Make it easier for everyone to track and monitor breaks and lunches. With features that are native to Icon Time’s TotalPass suite of automated time clocks, employees can clock-in and clock-out when they’re working remotely.
  • Administrators can check clock in/out information via a web browser. This can make it easier for you to manage sudden spikes in workflow.

The right features and support from your automated time clock can make tracking breaks and meal periods easier for you, and for your employees. It can also help ensure that employees maximize their time while they’re on the clock.

Icon Time’s automated time clock solutions give administrators and employees more features and flexibility to help improve the way they track time and attendance. Learn more about Icon Time’s full suite of products and services.

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