The importance of meal and break periods in the cannabis industry carries the same employer responsibility as any other industry. This is vital for two primary reasons: driving the business and creating the employee experience.
Driving the Business:
- Compliance with labor laws: Many Federal, State, and Local jurisdictions have mandates, labor laws, and regulations in place that set parameters for the minimum duration and timing of meal and break periods for employees as well as penalties for not adhering to the rules. For example, California requires a meal period to be provided no later than the end of the employee’s fifth hour of work. By tracking and ensuring compliance with these regulations, cannabis businesses can avoid potential legal issues, and penalties.
- Operational efficiency: Businesses can effectively manage staffing needs and work schedules with meal and break considerations to meet the needs of their customers and comply with laws when they factor in what is required of them to comply. It further enables employers to plan and allocate resources, ensuring adequate coverage during peak periods and avoiding bottlenecks or disruptions in workflow and missed customer opportunities.
- Record-keeping: Documenting and Tracking meal and break periods provide a record of compliance with labor laws and internal policies. Accurate documentation can be valuable for audits, legal purposes, or addressing any questions or concerns related to employee working hours.
Creating the Employee Experience:
- Employee well-being and productivity: Meal and break periods are essential for employees to rest, recharge, and refuel during their workday. Adequate breaks can help reduce fatigue, prevent burnout, and improve overall well-being. In fact, research finding by Tony Schwartz suggests that people naturally tend to move from full focus to fatigue every 90 minutes. By providing meal and rest breaks, employers can demonstrate their commitment to employee welfare and create a healthier work environment, ultimately boosting productivity and employee satisfaction.
- Balance and Equity: Consistently providing meal and break periods ensures that all employees are provided with equal opportunities for rest. It helps prevent favoritism, discrimination, or unequal treatment among employees, fostering a fair and equitable work culture. Many employees plan personal matters during these times and rely on consistency. This also always employers and managers to demonstrate they respect their employees’ needs and time, and that they matter.
It is essential to provide meal and break periods to comply with labor regulations, prioritize employee well-being, promote fair treatment, improve operational efficiency, and maintain accurate records.