As a small business owner, your employees are either your greatest assets or a major liability. Make sure that you are getting the most out of your employees by being the best employer you can be. Giving your employees timely breaks during their shifts not only keeps employees happy but also keeps your business safe from legal trouble.
While small businesses may experience a shortage of staff from time to time, employers should never ask an employee to leave their break early. There is no federal law mandating that breaks must occur, but most states have laws requiring breaks depending on how long a shift is. If your small business is located in a state that mandates breaks for employees, breaking the rules can be a big risk for your business.
A prime example of this liability was the 2014 settlement that Brinker International, the company that owns Chili’s had to pay. Brinker International agreed to pay around $56 million to 120,000 workers in California who had complained that they were asked to leave their break early. While this particular case is large scale and high-profile, your small business should still take note and incorporate regulated practices when it comes to employee breaks during their shifts so that you won’t have to deal with any impending litigation.
While some small businesses may feel that breaks take away from the work day, statistics show that it is actually more beneficial for business productivity to give their employees a break during their shift. Considering a 30-second micro break can increase productivity by up to 13%, and a 15-second break from looking at a computer screen every ten minutes may reduce fatigue by 50%, breaks are a proven way to jumpstart productivity. In another study conducted, employees who suffered from forearm, wrist, and hand discomfort were able to eliminate their pain completely just by taking a five-minute break every hour.
To ensure productivity is consistent throughout the day and employees are satisfied, consider implementing breaks into your business practice. While it can seem beneficial to go without breaks or end them early, the long-term issues can include potential lawsuits and a decrease in overall productivity.