As an employer, it is your responsibility to provide a clean and hazard-free work environment for your employees. One method that has been proven effective in reducing workplace safety concerns is ensuring that workers are not overworked. Requiring employees to work an exorbitant amount of hours without ample rest increases stress, lowers morale, and creates an environment prone to mistakes and injuries. It is in the best interest of the employee, the client, and even yourself to abide by the Illinois One Day of Rest in Seven Act (ODRISA). Doing so can also help avoid any disputes related to overtime pay.
More Than Just a Rest Day
As the name of the act implies, within a seven-day workweek, there must be one full 24-hour rest day. The term “week” refers to seven consecutive 24-hour days beginning at 12:01 AM on Sunday morning and ending at midnight the following Saturday night. The rest day should coincide with the employee’s traditional day of chosen religious worship. The legislation also requires a mandatory unpaid 20-minute meal break for every seven and a half hour shift, which must be given within the first five hours of work. If your employee is a hotel room attendant in Cook County, they receive one 30-minute meal break for a seven-hour shift in addition to two 15-minute rest breaks.
Benefits of Rest
You may require more breaks for your employees. In fact, such breaks can be made mandatory and a terminable offense if they are not taken, if you so choose. There are many essential benefits earned from employee breaks in which they get to step away an enjoy their rest. These benefits include:
- Increased productivity
- Reduced stress
- Decreased sick days
Day Off Exemptions
Occasionally, an employee requests to work on their allotted rest day. If an employee volunteers, an employer must submit a permit for approval with the Illinois Department of Labor. If this occurs more than eight times in a one-year period, the Director must consider why the abundance of work for one individual employee cannot be remedied by hiring additional staff or adjusting production schedules.
Contact an Illinois Employment Lawyer
If you own a small business, you understand fast-paced environments and lunches at the desk. However, overworked employees do not do any good for your business. Providing even the bare minimum breaks has ample benefits, not the least of which is avoiding penalties. If you have questions regarding rest requirements, contact a Schaumburg, IL employment law attorney. Miller Law Firm, P.C. understands that being a business owner is stressful at times and we are here to help ensure your legal matters do not take away from your livelihood. Call 847-995-1205 today to schedule your free initial consultation.