Provide protected time and dedicated space
Having protected time and space for breaks and lunch helps employees to get away and re-energize before coming back to work. Pennsylvania employers are required to provide break periods of at least 30 minutes for minors ages 14 through 17 who work five or more consecutive hours. Employers are not required to give breaks for employees 18 and over. If your employer allows breaks, and they last less than 20 minutes, you must be paid for the break. If your employer allows meal periods, the employer is not required to pay you for your meal period if you do not work during your meal period and it lasts more than 20 minutes. A collective bargaining agreement may also govern this issue.
The following is an example of a flextime policy that organizations can implement in order to achieve protected time for employees to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
Sample flextime policy:
“Employees can adjust their working hours in a flexible manner within a two-week period. The two timesheets for the pay period must total 80 hours. The additional hours above the 40 hours can be on either the first or second timesheet. Employees shall post their hours either as positive or negative to specific accounts.”
This worksite initiative is well worth it. Consider specifically identifying a break room and lunch center which reflects healthy lifestyles, personal expression, and encourages “active breaks”. The defined space-away from the intensity of the work environment-will provide a better, healthier and more meaningful experience for everyone. Workers will welcome breaks and lunch periods because the space is so pleasant.
Employees and management can work together to define a policy and assure its distribution to all employees.
Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry: