It is very important to follow the rules established by your employer when taking your breaks. Your contract spells out exactly the time that you are allowed to take, depending on the length of your shift, but there are certain established company policies that you should follow to keep out of potential trouble.
Most all employers have a restriction of where breaks are to be taken and designated smoking areas outside the premises. They also have policies about leaving the premises while on a break.
We have seen a number of disciplinary suspensions for taking excessive time while on a break, leaving the premises to run an errand without permission and for taking an unauthorized break.
Remember to ask for permission from your supervisor before taking a break. If you are delayed by a customer and you were not able to start your break on time, let someone know that you started late and will be making up the time. Do not leave the store and run errands without permission. Do not combine breaks (Two or more) without permission. Lastly, be careful not to take longer than the time allotted to you.
If you are not getting your breaks or you have questions about your contractual rights, please call your representative. The Rep on duty is also available to answer your contract questions.