A call center break policy highlights guidelines related to the breaks agents take during their work period. It defines certain rules so that agents can get some rest without their breaks having a negative impact on their productivity and the overall customer experience.
Here’s a call center break policy that you can customize and make a part of your employee handbook:
A. Purpose of the break policy
Agents at [company name] are entitled to breaks and should take them for productivity reasons.
A break period or time off helps agents stay energized and engaged so that they can return to work with a fresh mind. It can also help agents retain information, make quick decisions, improve productivity, and eventually boost employee engagement.
However, without time limits and certain rules, breaks can stretch for longer periods. This can diminish productivity and organizational growth in the long run.
That’s why this employee break policy documents all the necessary rules to be followed. All call center agents are required to abide by it strictly. Failure to do so will lead to appropriate disciplinary actions.
B. Scope of the policy
This policy applies to all full-time agents of [company name]. This also includes agents who carry out remote work due to the COVID 19 Pandemic.
C. Duration of breaks
All agents are entitled to receive one 30-minute break with two additional 15 minute breaks during an eight hour work schedule.
However, we also offer a 30-minute break for twelve hour shifts.
Note: Agents are not allowed to take breaks at either the beginning or end of the workday.
D. Mandatory breaks
Here are three essential breaks at [company name]:
1. Rest break
All agents are allowed a rest break of 15-20 minutes twice in a workday. These short breaks enable agents to relax, destress, and regain the mental energy to deal with customer phone calls efficiently.
A rest break is a paid break and is included in an agent’s billable time.
2. Meal break
A meal or lunch break is a long break and should have a duration of 45-60 minutes. It’s an unpaid break and doesn’t add up to the overall working hours of the employee.
Agents are advised to take it within three to five hours from the start of their workday.
3. Restroom breaks
A restroom or bathroom break is allowed to all agents, as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specifies that employees must have access to a toilet facility.
E. Other breaks
Here are some other short breaks allowed at [company name]:
1. Smoke breaks
Call center agents who smoke may require more frequent short breaks than other agents. While these cigarette breaks are allowed, they are considered as unpaid breaks.
2. Breaks for health hazards
An employee may have a health condition that requires them to take regular breaks.
If an employee has a condition that falls under the disabilities act, we will provide the employee with a reasonable accommodation like a flexible leave policy.
3. Breaks for religious purposes
Agents can ask the contact center for extended breaks for religious purposes such as prayers or religious readings. We also offer a private space for agents to pray, as long as it doesn’t cause inconvenience to other agents.
4. Breaks for nursing mothers
Nursing mothers who are working might require breaks so that they can feed their children. Agents will not be paid for these breaks, and they will not be counted towards the agent’s total work time.
F. Break law
There are no federal laws that mandate a US employer to provide rest, meal, or lunch period to their worker.
However, [company name] has decided to provide a meal or rest period, and we’re legally obligated to abide by certain rules under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Under this labor law, we will pay nonexempt employees (who don’t receive overtime pay or qualify for the minimum wage) for any time clocked in as “hours worked.” For any work done during a lunch or meal break, we, as the employer, will pay the employee according to their hourly wage.
G. Disciplinary actions
We at [company name] follow a point system to handle instances of employees returning late from a scheduled break. Every occurrence of late return (more than 10 minutes of the allotted break times) is subject to 1 point.
Summation of points translates to actions below:
- 3 Points: Verbal warning.
- 4 Points: Written warning.
- 5 Points: Meeting with the manager.
- 6 Points: The agent contract is subject to termination.
H. Employee acknowledgement
I have read and understood the break policy and will abide by all the policy conditions defined herein.
Disclaimer: The call center break policy template is meant to be a general guide only, and you should only use it as a reference. This policy template may not necessarily include all local, state laws, federal laws, and other applicable laws, and so, it should not be considered a legal document. Neither the author nor Time Doctor shall be responsible for any legal liability that may result from the use of this sample break policy.
Carlo Borja is the Head of Online Marketing for Time Doctor, a time tracking software for remote teams. He is a full-time telecommuter, a digital nomad and a coffee junkie.