It’s a well-known fact that medical practices are extremely busy. With that in mind, does your office staff take their breaks and lunch? Could your staff take action against you if they do not take their breaks? The answer is yes. So you have to be careful about what is happening with your staff member’s breaks.Taking breaks is a way for your staff members to recharge and step away from the busy happenings going on in the office. This has proven to be a way for the staff to take a moment to regroup and come back with a clearer mind and then be able to perform their duties much better.So what exactly are the employer’s obligations for breaks or lunch? The employer must offer a staff member an uninterrupted period of time, anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour. The employee is allowed to leave the office if they chose to. If they decide to leave the office, they can use that period of time to do whatever he or she desires.If the employer knows or finds out that an employee was working during their break or lunch period, the employer would be liable for payment of the employee’s regular wage for the time that was worked. If the employee is an 8 hour a day worker and they do not take their lunch period, than it would be considered overtime pay.If an employee works over 5 hours in a day than a lunch period must be provided. If an employee works over 10 hours of work in a day, than they would be entitled to a second lunch period. What about a 10 or 15 minute coffee break?A 10 minute break is owed to the employee for every 4 hours worked. This should be done after the first 3 ½ hours of work. The California Labor Code requires that an employer must pay an employee 1 hour of pay for failure to provide a lunch break.Make sure your office staff is taking their lunch and coffee breaks each day. This should be in written form of your office staff policy regarding this matter. Post this policy in the break room if your office has one. It should be visible for all employees to view. Implement a written policy with the employee signing it, acknowledging that they are aware of the policy. Consider including an acknowledgement on time records where the employee confirms that they have in fact taken their required break and lunch break.Periodically review the employee’s timecards to ensure that they are taking the necessary breaks and lunch breaks, and if they have not, discipline those that have violated the policy.