Is A Break Area Required?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about break area:

In a work place with 30 or more employees are you required to have a designated break area?

Signed, Need a Break

Dear Need a Break:

Very few states have any kind of labor regulations about how or where breaks are taken–or even if breaks must be allowed. Check with the Department of Labor in your state to find out for sure.An employer who cares about employees and wants the most productivity usually makes an effort to provide a break area of some kind and allows breaks to be taken. However, sometimes work spaces are rented or leased and break rooms aren’t part of the layout.

If there is no break room and no room that could be converted to a break room, consider asking your employer or manager if a small space can be set aside, perhaps with a screen or plants, where people can at least sit away from the immediate work area to take a break. Some employers provide a picnic table area with an umbrella outside, for nice weather days. Even a few card tables that could be set up and put down when not being used, might be possible in the corner of a larger area. If that is being done, it seems to work well to have a fan to freshen that area as well as trash cans, bottles of water, paper towels and some kind of decor to make the area look less utilitarian, but still appropriate for a work place. If a new building is being planned, a comfortable sized break room with electrical outlets and–if possible–a sink, should be a priority.I hope this was helpful for the information you needed. Best wishes!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.