How to automate lunch break labor law compliance
By Trevor Sheffield
February 28, 2023
Every state has different lunch break labor law requirements. As an employer, you’re responsible for keeping track of these laws and knowing which requirements are necessary for your business. But cut yourself some slack—they’re complicated. Especially if your business operates in more than one state, it’s a lot to keep track of. So how can you automate this process to make it easier for both you and each employee you hire? We’ve got several solutions for you.
Prevent clocking in and out when needed
The first and most effective way you can consider is preventing employees from clocking in and out when it’s necessary. This works best when your employees have scheduled times for lunch breaks. Most time tracking softwares, including Timerack, enable you to prevent employees from punching out early for their lunch break and punching back in before their allotted time is up.
While many employees appreciate taking their whole lunch break, others are enthusiastic about earning as much money as possible and want to cut said breaks short. Overeager employees are great workers, but can interfere with your ability to follow the law. These strict measures for keeping employees dedicated to their lunch breaks is a helpful strategy when you need to put your hand down and help get things back in line in a quick manner.
Include a disclaimer
In addition to preventing employees from making punches that don’t align with state policies, you can also allow them to punch out and in at their requested times while reminding them that they are doing so of their own will. For example, if an employee clocks out late for their scheduled lunch break, you can automate your time tracking software to remind them of the earliest time they are allowed to clock back in. Likewise, if an employee clocks in again after not taking the allotted amount of lunch break time, you can require them to certify that they were offered the appropriate amount of time off and chose not to take it.
Remember, you still have to pay your employees for all of the time they work, so if they clock in early after taking a break, even with a disclaimer you’re legally required to pay them for the extra time worked. If this is an issue, consider the first solution as it may be more reliable.
Lunch Break Labor Law Scheduled Alerts
Do you have employees who regularly neglect clocking out for their lunch break? Whether they’re swamped with work and are trying to catch up or they’re just overly enthusiastic about getting as many hours in as possible, your time tracking software can send you an alert when a worker does not clock out at the appointed time. Then, whoever has the appropriate clearance can discuss this issue directly with the employee. This strategy works well when paired with the first or second options on this list. Then, you’re aware of anyone who may be slipping through the cracks.
Review timesheets as needed
If these strategies aren’t effective enough, consider taking an hour or two every week or two weeks to review the timesheets of a random set of employees. Do you find that they are following the lunch break labor law requirements as needed? If not, talk to each individual and get a verbal commitment that they will change their actions accordingly.
Keep your compliance in order by enacting these strategies with your own time tracking software and ensuring your employees know when they are responsible for taking time off for a lunch break.
Timerack offers time tracking software that can help with your staffing and recruiting needs.