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Break Area Required? Illinois

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  • Break Area Required? Illinois

    While I am familiar with Illinois break and meal time requirements, would an employer be required to provide a break area for employees? I noted something which shows it for hotel workers, but in general, must employers provide break tables, etc.?

    (An employee who is to work 7 1/2 continuous hours or more shall be provided a meal period of at least 20 minutes. The meal period must be given to an employee no later than 5 hours after beginning work. Illinois has no law regarding breaks.)

    *Private sector?
    *Municipal Workers?

    Anything different for either role listed above?
    Last edited by JJ_in_Illinois; 11-01-2017, 11:05 AM. Reason: Wanted to add more

  • #2
    Municipal regulations are going to vary from one municipality to another. Employees in the public sector are also frequently unionized and there may be a provision for breaks in the CBA. Private sector may have internal policies which address this as well.

    The actual law reads:

    (820 ILCS 140/3) (from Ch. 48, par. 8c)
    Sec. 3. Every employer shall permit its employees who are to work for 7 1/2 continuous hours or longer, except those specified in this Section, at least 20 minutes for a meal period beginning no later than 5 hours after the start of the work period.
    This Section does not apply to employees for whom meal periods are established through the collective bargaining process.
    This Section does not apply to employees who monitor individuals with developmental disabilities or mental illness, or both, and who, in the course of those duties, are required to be on call during an entire 8 hour work period; however, those employees shall be allowed to eat a meal during the 8 hour work period while continuing to monitor those individuals.
    (Source: P.A. 88-73.)

    There is a requirement that break space be provided for hotel room attendants.

    (820 ILCS 140/3.1)
    Sec. 3.1. Hotel room attendants.
    (a) As used in this Section, "hotel room attendant" means a person who cleans or puts in order guest rooms in a hotel or other establishment licensed for transient occupancy.
    (b) This Section applies only to hotels and other establishments licensed for transient occupancy that are located in a county with a population greater than 3,000,000.
    (c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, every hotel room attendant shall receive a minimum of 2 15-minute paid rest breaks and one 30-minute meal period in each workday on which the hotel room attendant works at least 7 hours. An employer may not require any hotel room attendant to work during a break period.
    (d) Every employer of hotel room attendants shall make available at all times a room on the employer's premises with adequate seating and tables for the purpose of allowing hotel room attendants to enjoy break periods in a clean and comfortable environment. The room shall have clean drinking water provided without charge.


    There are some industry specific break requirements, so if you indicate the industry, we can point you in the right direction.
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
      There are some industry specific break requirements, so if you indicate the industry, we can point you in the right direction.
      I'm speaking in regards to a city municipality. (I'd prefer not to say which one in a public forum) The workers are union and the CBA does not specify anything about break tables must be provided. However, one of the worker's spouted, "By law, management HAS to provide tables and chairs for break time". This same person also said the law requires them to be granted so many breaks per day and per number of hours and such, but the only part I was most unsure of was the break area, tables and chairs. Someone else mentioned she would eat in her vehicle, and he said that wasn't management providing seating.

      I'm not saying anyone wants to take them away, there was a dispute one day where no one would leave the break room on time or many would sit around and wait for the bell to ring ten minutes before and it frustrating. A supervisor mentioned the seating would disappear if they didn't stop using it when they were supposed to be working. Of course, the reply from the employee using his knowledge of the "law" was something which I couldn't find nor could answer.

      Such a silly matter, but it does make us wonder what is required so we have a definite answer should it arise again.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JJ_in_Illinois View Post
        I'm speaking in regards to a city municipality. (I'd prefer not to say which one in a public forum) The workers are union and the CBA does not specify anything about break tables must be provided. However, one of the worker's spouted, "By law, management HAS to provide tables and chairs for break time". This same person also said the law requires them to be granted so many breaks per day and per number of hours and such, but the only part I was most unsure of was the break area, tables and chairs. Someone else mentioned she would eat in her vehicle, and he said that wasn't management providing seating.

        I'm not saying anyone wants to take them away, there was a dispute one day where no one would leave the break room on time or many would sit around and wait for the bell to ring ten minutes before and it frustrating. A supervisor mentioned the seating would disappear if they didn't stop using it when they were supposed to be working. Of course, the reply from the employee using his knowledge of the "law" was something which I couldn't find nor could answer.

        Such a silly matter, but it does make us wonder what is required so we have a definite answer should it arise again.
        Whenever an employee tells me "the law says", my reply is "the company wants to abide by all laws. I am unfamiliar with that law. Please give me the cite so I can review it". I have never had an employee come back to me with a law saying that the employee alleges.

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        • #5
          What HRinMA said. Why kill yourself trying to prove a negative for a self proclaimed legal expert? Tell them to show you where the law says what they say it does.

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