For Hourly Employees Out In The Field, Is Lunch Break On The Clock Or Off It? How Long?

For the techs that are out on the field, that are paid hourly. Do they take lunch while clocked in? How long do you allow for lunch.

Thanks


No, that's why they're hourly.

Generally "Off the clock",, but you should consult a local employment attorney to see about any local requirements that could be driven by type of work, hazardous locations, union/non-union, etc.Let us know what you find out...

I recently visited with an integrator that offers paid breaks of 30 minutes for lunch, and two 15 minute breaks during the day. Additional/Longer breaks are not paid beyond those periods.

This is a smart policy, IMO because it clearly defines 'productive' vs 'nonproductive' time expectations.

For example, all personal business/phonecalls/facebook/text messages/errands need to be confined to those periods. No 'hanging a camera with a phone to your ear' is allowed.

The feedback was once this 'paid break' policy was in place, individual tech efficiency trended up.

Almost every job I ever bid included a per-diem cost for the labor techs. The amount varied, especially for overnight jobs, but meal/break cost was generally covered in that amount.

"I recently visited with an integrator that offers paid breaks of 30 minutes for lunch, and two 15 minute breaks during the day."

Interesting. I wonder how that impacts overall compensation. For example, you could pay a tech $25 an hour, no breaks included. Or you could pay the tech $22.20 and include 1 hour paid break a day, for the same total cost.

As an observation, this regional integrator generally pays less per hour, but touts better benefits relative to competition (ie: takehome vehicles, personal mileage, personal use of company cellphone, paid training, tech clothing, so on.)

For example, all personal business/phonecalls/facebook/text messages/errands need to be confined to those periods.

Devil's advocate, they still are allowed to take a lunch break, even if not paid for it right? So they should be expected to take care of their stuff then just the same.

No 'hanging a camera with a phone to your ear is allowed'.

Modern slackers are generally proficient at surreptitious hands-free operation. ;)

they still are allowed to take a lunch break, even if not paid for it right?

They get that one-hour of paid 'non-productive' time to use however, any additional time has to be approved and isn't paid unless other benefits like vacation time or sick time come in to play.

Lunch is off the clock, 1 hour. Most opt to travel to their next call and get off a little early.

I do like the paid breaks concept. Worth a look.

Is using the company vehicle allowed for those not bringing a lunch to work? I generally try to persuade all field techs to bring a lunch. Unauthorized truck rolls are not allowed but occasionally happen.

We pay from clock in to clock out. Lunch vreaks are expected and paid. The answer is to not hire slackers...

We pay for up to 2 - 15min breaks only if they are at the same job all day. Otherwise they are expected to take a quick break between jobs as they travel.

Lunch is not usually paid, however if they eat their lunch on the road between jobs we don't deduct any time either.

Our biggest "hang-up" is how to properly address when our installers clock out. Most of our technicians take their vehicles home. We service a fairly large area so it can take a installer over an hour to get home from a job. To keep things relatively fair we have set our city boundary as clock out time. If you work within the city you clock out when you leave the job. If you work outside, you clock out as soon as you reach the city limits. I'm curious as to how others do it.

...if they eat their lunch on the road between jobs we don't deduct any time...

Of course there will be some who abuse any priveledge

In NY an employee who takes a company vehicle home must be paid from the time the vehicle rolls out of their home driveway until it parks at the end of the night (minus unpaid lunch, breaks, etc).

It is a little more tricky for out of state travel/work. For these, the company housing is typically within 20 minutes or less of the job site, so we pay when the team arrives on the job site otherwise we end up paying for the coffee/breakfast/gas/what-ever-else runs to and from the hotel.

For travel between job sites, it is always paid.

We give them a half hour from home. If the job is within a half an hour from their house they clock in when they arrive at the job site. If its farther than half an hour, the clock in when they are half an hour from their house. We try to take geography into account when assigning techs. We appreciate the lower paid drive time, the techs appreciate not spending half their day in the truck. The techs came up with this arrangement themselves, and I like it so far.

Mandatory stop the truck and take a minimum 30 min lunch brake, and you can be written up if you don't. That's what it comes too when a disgruntled employee "forgets" all those times he said he was fine with taking a lunch break in the truck on the way to a site and decides to sue for unpaid work time.

Mandatory stop the truck and take a minimum 30 min lunch brake...

That is indeed a lunch brake...

I'm leaving that in so you can keep the credit for that one.

who has time for lunch anymore ? i generally take 30 mins and it off the clock but we get two 15 min breaks that are paid, but i generally work through both lunch and breaks

We encourage our field team, nearly mandate except in unusual circumstances, meal breaks and 15 minute breaks. The team works hard in extreme heat, rain, snow, etc. The breaks offer a chance to rest and, more importantly, refocus to avoid possibly injury or accidents due to overtired technicians.

On a similar but different note - What will you do about salaried employees who make less than $47,476? Will you make them hourly or boost their pay to $47,500 for a couple years then boost it more to stay above the updated Federal Rule? If you move to hourly, will it be a slap in the face to someone who feels they are a "Professional" as they feel "Professionals" get a salary? How will they respond to having to punch in and out everyday and clock out for lunches? Will you lose employees? Will you allow them to work overtime as an hourly person? What about work emails from home and on a smartphone? Taking a salaried person and putting them hourly can be taken as an insult.