Sustainable Agriculture Institute
Policy brief & purpose
SAI’s employee breaks policy describes how employees should take breaks during their workday. We want our employees to be able to rest, eat, smoke and relax for some time during their workday to foster a pleasant workplace.
Breaks may be mandated by local law or union agreements. We will comply with these guidelines at all times.
This policy applies to all our employees.
Our employees can take the following breaks at work:
Meal breaks. We provide all employees who work more than six hours on a given day with a 30-minute meal break. They should take it within two to five hours from the beginning of their workday. If you work longer than 10 hours in one day, you can take a second meal break. These breaks are generally unpaid for non-exempt employees, unless local law states otherwise.
Rest breaks. Our employees can take one paid 15-minute rest break for every four hours worked. So, if you work ten hours you may normally take two rest breaks.
Restroom breaks. Employees can take reasonable toilet breaks, whenever they need to, as part of their workday.
Breastfeeding breaks. Employees who want to pump/express milk can use our lactation rooms according to our Breastfeeding Policy. A general provision for these unpaid breaks is 15 minutes.
How working hours are affected
Meal and breastfeeding breaks won’t count against your standard working hours or overtime. If possible, schedule these breaks in advance so your team will know when you will be unavailable. For certain positions, we may schedule lunch breaks to avoid any negative impact on our operations. For example, if you work in customer support, we may schedule lunch time so someone will always be available to answer customer requests.
Rest and restroom breaks are included in your working hours and are paid as normal.
Local law may make meal breaks mandatory. If this is the case, please take time to have a meal as expected.
To safeguard your health and productivity, your manager may ask you to take a break if you haven’t taken one for more than five hours.
Working during breaks
We expect that employees will not be working during their breaks. If you need to perform any kind of work (e.g. answering calls on your phone), we will pay your normal compensation for that time. Also, you will be paid as normal when you are obliged to remain on company premises during your meal break for a work-related reason (e.g. waiting for a delivery.)
We want our employees to feel well and be productive while working. If you become indisposed or experience another issue, ask your manager for an impromptu break. Ask for a sick leave or partial PTO if you believe that you need a break lasting more than 30 minutes.
Breaks for minors
Local law may have special provisions for minors regarding their breaks. We will follow the law and ensure our underage employees rest adequately during their workdays.