Employee breaks?

We have three new employees at our shop. It seems that 2 out of the 3 are definite keepers and I hope they can stick around for a while. The third? Well I almost actually laughed out loud when she told me she was taking a break three hours into her shift on Friday night. I asked her who told her she could take a break and she told me the owner said we get breaks after three hours. No way do I think he actually told her this. So anyways the rush had just died out so I just sent her home instead. I don’t know what the law is on breaks but I thought you had to work four hours before you could get a break, no? And the majority of the people who work come in at five and go home at or before 9:00pm anyways. Generally only the closing manager and one, maybe two drivers stay after 9:00. Either way, in all of my six years working as a driver and a manager I have NEVER heard of anyone asking to have a break.


Oh and she said she only needed one because she needed to have a smoke!!! Am I supposed to have sympathy or something? She isn’t even 18!

Check with your state department of labor, as each state is different.

Federal law is silent on the matter with the exception of minors which require at least a 30 minute break every 5 hours, and dictate how late and how early they can work.

I have zero sympathy with smoking breaks. The whole concept is BS. Furthermore, we do not allow smoking in or around our place of business. There are certainly no breaks after three hours or during the dinner period at all.

With employment the way it is right now, I would let her go and simply state that it did not work out during the initial 30 day evaluation period. No other reason given.

With employment the way it is right now, I would let her go and simply state that it did not work out during the initial 30 day evaluation period. No other reason given.

That is great advice because she will only get worse.

Clearly if she isn’t going to work don’t waste any more time on her. As for the breaks I guess I have a different view than most of posters.

Most of my employees do smoke. I don’t mind if they have a quick cigarette. They all know they have to have their pre rush stuff done. Never during a rush. After the rush we do a general cleaning and then if ANYONE wants to take a quick 5 minutes we rotate. Some go to the bathroom, some take a smoke break, some just chit chat for a few minutes, some get a soda refill or whatever. Then we bust out the clean up and go home. If they want to eat they can eat when all the clean up is done. We have had in the past some employees want to take a 1/2 hour right after the rush to avoid the clean up. We get the clean up done then take extended breaks.


Kris, are you a smoker?

Used to…

I looked into this a while back, accoring to the Illionis Dept. of Labor (because i’m in Illinois) there are 0 breaks for anyone under 8 straight hours.

Apparently the law in California is one ten minute paid break for anyone working over three and a half hours. And a half hour non paid break for anyone working five or more hours.

I guess we will just be sending her home every night at or before three and a half hours.

Unless she has some major redeeming qualities, like being able to make your most complicated pizza from memory on the first night as fast as your best person, she would be no longer scheduled. Right or wrong about the law, SHE LIED ABOUT WHAT THE BOSS SAID. Dishonesty for personal gain is not a one time event. If you don’t can her, at least call her on it and put her on a short leash preferable with a choke collar. :twisted:


Never had an employee work out when their breaks are their first concern. Your guts already are telling your this or you would not be posting here.

As a non-smoker, I can honestly say that nothing would cause you more harm to your business than to allow her smoke breaks.

It’s not your fault she has a habit she can’t stay away from for 3 hours, and a minor at that? The non-smokers or smokers who can control their habit will only see a “special priviledge” you’re giving the new girl.

If you fire her and she balks, mention that she’s lucky you didn’t call the authorities for breaking the law on your time.

IMO…the dishonesty of saying what the owner told her coupled with the fact she is a law breaker, means you’re headed for trouble if you keep her.

Yesterday I was in a sub shop and the first thing that caught my attention was the smell of smoke in the air…So I quickly left…I do not think any business can afford to lose any customers these days so staff should not be allowed to smoke while on duty…The smell gets in their hair and clothes, etc…

Smoke Breaks…What about Fresh Air Breaks?

I get so mad when someone comes to me and wants a smoke break. I feel that if you can’t go without a cigarette for 3 hours then you have a real problem.

I just recently implemented a new rule at our establishment if your not over 18 you don’t get a smoke break. I refuse to contribute to the delinquency of a minor.

I used to let them take their breaks when they wanted but then it got to the point that they would try to take a break during our busy times…you give them an inch, they will take a mile.

Our rules
1. No breaks during busy times
2. If you want to eat you may do so before your shift or after your shift if your only scheduled 3-4 hours.
3. 5 minute smoke break – after 3 hours of work