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Oct18

Smoke Breaks

When you have less than 20 employees and you hire a new employee that want to take a smoke break. How do you handle it

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which establishes wage and hour regulations, doesn’t require employers to provide meal or rest breaks. Some states mandate employers to provide employees who work more than five or six hours at least a 30 minute meal period. Only a few states such as California and Colorado require employers to permit employees to take a rest break. Absent state law requiring rest breaks, employers are free to establish their own policies and practices.

Even with less than 20 employees, it’s important to set policies applicable to all employees. Employees may feel it’s unfair that an employee who smokes is permitted more breaks than nonsmokers. Thus, if one employee is allowed an extra break or two doing the day, the same benefit should be offered to all employees. Another option is to stick to the current policy. Assuming breaks are not currently required/allowed, inform the new employee of the policy/practice. Apologize for the inconvenience but be strict in enforcing the policy. If the employee fails to follow company policy then treat the situation as you would any other insubordination.

This entry was posted on Saturday, October 18th, 2014 at 8:37 pm and is filed under
Human Resources Management, Labor Laws.
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