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Meal Period

I have a question regarding meal periods. The Illinois statue says the following –
(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.

My understanding is that this only applies to nonexempt employees. I am being questioned if this also applies to exempt staff. Management will generally work through their lunch in the summer to enjoy leaving early (or not working) on a Friday for ‘summer hours’. Do we need to mandate all exempt staff take a lunch also? This will be a negative message if true.

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