Every state has their own laws regarding rest periods and meal breaks for its workers; Illinois is no exception. Unfortunately, small and new business owners may not be aware of these requirements. Learn more about mandatory rest breaks for employees, including what potential actions you could face for noncompliance, with help from the following information.
Rest Break Requirements
Many states have mandated rest breaks for their employees, but Illinois is not one of them. Keep in mind that rest breaks are different from meal periods; rest periods generally last only 10 to 15 minutes (depending on state law and employer preference). Meal periods are longer, and they are required under Illinois state law.
Meal Period Requirements
Under Illinois state law, employers must provide any employee that works at least 7.5 hours in a shift with a meal break. It must last at least 20 minutes, and it must be provided to the employee before their fifth hour of work. Failure to provide this meal break could result in numerous consequences, including fines and lawsuits.
(Please note that there are some limited exclusions to this law. For example, an employee that monitors individuals with a developmental disability does not have to receive an official meal break, but they must be permitted to eat a meal while monitoring their wards.)
One Day Rest in Seven Act
The One Day Rest in Seven Act requires that employers provide their workers with at least one day of rest per work week. State law defines the work week as starting at 12:01 a.m. Sunday morning and ending at midnight the following Saturday. The day of rest must be at least 24 consecutive hours. That means the employee cannot be scheduled for even a partial shift, nor can they be called into work. Employers may request a relaxation of this law, but they must be able to prove that employees are volunteers and not paid individuals.
Potential Consequences of Non-Compliance
Although the consequences of non-compliance will vary greatly, depending on the circumstances and number of previous infractions, those that fail to follow the law may face fines from the state. Employees may also have the right to pursue compensation against the employer for certain acts of non-compliance. If you are facing such a situation, ensure you seek experienced and qualified legal assistance.
At the Miller Law Firm, P.C., we strive to protect businesses from costly litigation. We do this, not just through representation during lawsuits, but also through preventative measures. Whatever your needs, our Schaumburg employment law attorney is here to help. Call 847-995-1205 and schedule a personalized consultation to learn more.