Track or enforce employee breaks

Updated Aug 26, 2020

In TimeForge, the employee breaks module is a powerful and flexible part of the scheduling and attendance tracking in regards to scheduling employee breaks and meal periods. TimeForge breaks are controlled using the "Break Rules," and after you create an employee schedule, these "Break Rules" become scheduled employee breaks that can be controlled and monitored using TimeForge Attendance, or with a worksheet and signatures by staff members.

TimeForge "Break Rules" are designed to allow management to specify the language and requirements of paid, unpaid, optional, and required breaks, similar to how they might be specified by federal, state, or local authorities. For example, in some states, it may be required to provide a 15-minute optional and unpaid break to staff members who work at least 6 hours.

Setting up the "Break Rules" is easy, and here are the steps you need to take in order to schedule breaks for staff members.

Open the Employees tab and select Breaks from the menu.

Review the break rules

Review the Break Rules, which specify:

  • the number of breaks
  • the duration of breaks
  • the recurrence of breaks
  • whether or not the break is required (or optional)
  • whether the break is paid (or unpaid)
  • a description for the break
  • the position the break applies to
  • and how long the employee must be at work for the break to apply.

Configure rules for employee breaks

To add an employee break rule, click on the Add A New Break Rule button. Here is an explanation of the information on this screen:

  1. Employee breaks that apply to any position are listed under the Any Position section. Breaks for specific positions are listed under their respective position names. This flexibility allows management, like FOH and BOH, to have different staff member break setups.
  2. Select the number of breaks, and the duration of the break(s). For example, here we are setting a rule for "2 breaks," and each break lasts "5 minutes."
  3. Choose the duration that employee breaks repeat. For example, in the picture, we are describing breaks that occur once every 6 hours. If the breaks should be awarded every 2 hours, but the shift is 4 hours long, the staff member may be awarded 2 sets of breaks.
  4. Decide whether the employee breaks are paid, unpaid, required, or optional, and add a description of the break (optional). For example, here we have a required but unpaid break with no description.
  5. Decide if the break applies to all positions, or only one type of position, and also decide which specific shifts will receive the break. For example, here we are awarding breaks to staff members who work Cashier shifts that are at least 6 hours long, but no longer than 8 hours.
  6. Not overlapping simply means that the breaks will be given so that they do not conflict with each other.  

TimeForge will tie all of the Break Rules together, and then apply/award the breaks to staff members working any shift that applies. Based on the picture for this step, TimeForge will provide (2) 5-minute breaks to cashiers who work at least 6 hours, but less than 8 hours.  Both of these breaks are required, but are unpaid.

When you're done working with the employee breaks, make sure to click on the Save Break Rules button to save your changes.

Test the break rule

After you create rules for employee breaks, you have the ability to test them to ensure that the break rules are configured exactly the way your business needs them.

To test the break rules, choose an applicable position, then choose a logical work shift, and finally click on Test Break Rules.

Set the employee breaks options

Open the Attendance tab and select Attendance Options.

The employee break options are at the bottom of this page.

  1. This option must be set to "Yes" in order to display the rest of these options. Setting it to the default of "No" will essentially turn off any enforcement of the break rules you've set up.
  2. This option will enforce the break time on your employee schedule. If this is set to "Yes," employees are able to clock out anytime to take a break. If it is set to "No," many more of these options will appear (everything listed as part of #4 below) so that you can specify how TimeForge will enforce the break rules.
  3. With this option set to "Yes," you can have TimeForge automatically distribute the breaks based on the schedule. If set to "No," you'll receive another option and can set what order breaks are taken. You can choose from "Employee Choice, Paid/Unpaid and Required/Optional, or Unpaid/Paid and Optional/Required.
  4. With these options, you can have TimeForge automatically take out breaks depending on what works best for your business.
  5. This option automatically turns a break into "Unpaid" after a set amount of time. That way, you can prevent employees from getting paid for taking breaks longer than what is allowed on the schedule.

Don't forget to click Save Company Settings when you're finished!

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