Break Periods

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Unless otherwise stated by collective bargaining agreement, department heads and supervisors are free to determine break period practices in their areas based on the special conditions of their work situations. Many departments, particularly those dealing with walk-in clients, may not have the flexibility to designate a specific 15-minute period, morning and afternoon, when all employees may take a break. In such cases, employees may have coffee or other refreshment at their work stations when the work is up to date or there is a natural lull in the work. In other cases, employees may take their breaks on a rotational basis.

Break periods, however, should serve their intended purpose -- specifically, a morning and/or afternoon rest period from the work schedule. Formal breaks must not be manipulated to be placed either at the beginning or end of the workday or regularly scheduled lunch break. They may not be accumulated toward time off. Department supervisory staff and employees are encouraged to discuss break period options and to develop a written or well-communicated policy for their area which reasonably accommodates the requirements of the work as well as the needs of the employees.