Well, breaks are always fun. Most people believe that a normal schedule is 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, with a break and/or lunch every two hours is standard. Well, that may work in some places, but down here on earth, we have to be a bit more flexible.
We use the following standards when planning breaks and lunches:
- The first break can be scheduled 1.5 to 2 hours from the start of the shift,
- The lunch break can be scheduled 3.5 to 4.75 hours from the start of the shift (In the state of CA, if the employee hasn't taken a lunch by the 5th hour, you will owe them an hour of pay. Be careful with scheduling lunches at the 5th hour.),
- The second break can be scheduled 1.5 to 2 hours from the end of the shift.
- Allow at least 75 minutes between breaks and lunches.
We've found that sharing these guidelines up front with employees will reduce (not eliminate) concerns around break times and duration.