Article Y - Employee Break Schedule

Each employee is entitled to one fifteen minute (15) break for each four (4) hours worked per day. Breaks must be taken as time and service to the public permits. Each employee is entitled to one thirty minute (30) lunch/dinner break for working a six hour work day or the employee is entitled to a sixty minute (60) lunch/dinner break for working an eight (8) or eight and one half hour (8.5) work day.

Break time may not be used to: shorten the length of the work day, lengthen a lunch/dinner hour, add to accumulated leave time, or count as overtime if not taken at the designated time. Break time is a paid portion of scheduled work time. Break time length shall be adhered to and abuse may be cause for disciplinary action.

Employees should not abandon service to a patron in order to take a break or leave a secure or public area unattended to take a break. Co-workers should be advised when an employee is taking his or her break.

The needs of the job must be met first, and in some areas at some times breaks are not possible. Due to evening and weekend staffing conditions, the library does not provide coverage during these time periods.

G. 5. Breaks

The library recognizes two different types of breaks: paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks.

Paid Rest Breaks (15 minutes)

Rest breaks are designed to provide periodic rest for the employee during the work shift, independent of longer meal breaks. All employees are encouraged to take a 15-minute rest break on library time for every four hours of work scheduled. With limited exceptions, rest breaks are not required by law, and thus remain a privilege, not a right. All rest breaks are contingent upon workload and coverage, and may not be provided in times of heavy workload or insufficient coverage at the discretion of the supervisor. Paid rest breaks are not recorded in the employee’s time record.

Individual rest breaks cannot be “saved” for later use or be combined with other breaks in order to shorten the work day or extend unpaid meal breaks.

Rest breaks are intended to provide a brief respite from work with the assumption that the employee remains on site. If employees need to leave the library campus for longer than 15 minutes, they should do so on their own time and record such an absence on their time record.

Unpaid Meal Breaks (30 minutes)

A 30-minute unpaid meal break on the employee’s time is required of all employees working six or more consecutive hours. It is optional for employees working five hours, and is not scheduled for employees working four or fewer hours in one day. Unpaid meal breaks longer than 30 minutes must be approved by the supervisor.

Employees working nine hours on a Saturday (9:00 am – 6:00 pm) are required to take an unpaid one hour lunch break, contingent upon workload and coverage.

A meal break schedule will be developed within each department, taking into consideration operational and coverage needs. Employees are expected to take their meal breaks at the times approved by their supervisors. Unused meal breaks may not be used to leave work early or to extend other meal or rest breaks.

Break Time for Nursing Mothers

In keeping with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and with O.C.G.A. § 31-1-6, ARLS will provide an employee who is nursing with reasonable unpaid leave breaks each day to express breast milk for her nursing child. The library will provide a space, other than a restroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public. The break time will run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee. Employees will not be retaliated against for exercising their rights under this policy.

Attending Events at the Library

As a public facility, the library is often used by outside groups for events or activities that the public may attend and for library-sponsored programs. Employees may also be interested in attending such functions. If an employee’s presence at such functions is not clearly related to the employee’s assigned tasks or staff development plan, or is not part of the employee’s role as an ARLS employee, then such attendance may not be charged to ARLS as time worked and must be part of the employee’s own, unpaid time.

Work on a Holiday

Salaried employees who must work on a library holiday are compensated with time at the rate of double time for each hour worked and are allowed to take this time off within the following pay period. Hourly part-time employees will be compensated at the rate of double their regular pay rate.

This policy refers to those employees who:

  • are normally scheduled to be off work on a holiday,
  • are called in due to an urgent work-related matter, and / or
  • are required to work a portion of or all of a holiday.

Holiday work and hours must be approved by the Director or designee.

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