Adriana S.Kosovych, Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in, in “3 Steps to Minimize Risks with Auto-Deducted Meal Breaks,” by Allen Smith.

Following is an excerpt:

Auto-deductions for nonexempt employees' meal breaks can be less risky if employers take these three steps:

  • Provide a method for workers to cancel auto-deductions if they work during meals.
  • Reduce the chance that meal breaks will be interrupted.
  • Train employees and supervisors about the auto-deduction policy.

The safest way for an employer to ensure that it satisfies its obligations to pay hourly employees for all time worked is to require nonexempt workers to clock in and out not only at the beginning and end of each shift or workday but also at the start and finish of each meal break, said Adriana Kosovych, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green in New York City. …

An employer that adopts an auto-deduction policy should reinforce it through training at the time of hire and annual mandatory training, according to Kosovych.

Inform employees that they:

  • Are to be completely relieved from their duties during meal breaks.
  • May not work voluntarily during meal breaks.
  • May be subject to discipline for performing unauthorized work during a meal break. However, any employee who performs such work still must be paid for that time.
  • An employer may require that employees eat their meals away from their work stations, she added.

Supervisors should receive separate training, Kosovych recommended. Supervisors must strive for employees to take their full, uninterrupted meal breaks, but also instruct those who work during meals that they must record that work time accurately so that they are paid for it.

Jump to Page

Privacy Preference Center

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.