It’s probably safe to say Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) won’t be nominated for any humanitarian of the year awards in the near future.

As the Lone Star State was dealing with triple-digit temperatures this summer, he signed legislation effectively denying water breaks for construction workers. 

Makes you wonder what Abbott and like-minded state lawmakers must have been drinking. I get that Texas prides itself in being pro-business and all, but c’mon guys. That move is just plain heartless.

Not that long-term care is immune from its share of break-related controversies. Given the sector’s endemic staffing challenges, things can sometimes get a bit, er, controversial.

We’ve heard and seen reports of operators requiring workers to clock out during breaks, being called back early from breaks and being told to not take them at all. And while such management directives may help alleviate a temporary problem, I’m here to tell you they are not good for business. That is, unless frequently replacing departed workers happens to be your thing.

Employee breaks are not merely a humanitarian gesture — one required by law in many states, btw. They also deliver real benefits to your organization. Let’s count some of the ways:

Improved health and safety

Frequent breaks also contribute to better health and safety outcomes. Extended periods of continuous work can increase the risk of accidents and injuries due to fatigue and reduced concentration. By encouraging regular breaks, employers can reduce such risks and create a safer work environment.

Regulatory compliance

In many states, failing to provide breaks can lead to legal repercussions and penalties. Complying with these regulations not only ensures legal compliance but also demonstrates your commitment to respecting employees’ rights and well-being.

Improved employee well-being

Breaks give workers an opportunity to rest, recharge and refocus, which helps reduce physical and mental fatigue. These benefits lead to better overall health and job satisfaction. The bottom-line result? Higher morale and lower turnover rates.

Increased productivity

Let’s face it: Workers who are tired, stressed or overwhelmed are not going to perform at their best. By allowing short, intermittent breaks, employers help their employees recharge. Numerous studies have found that such breaks result in more work being done — and with better quality.

Enhanced engagement

When employers respect their workers’ need for breaks, it sends a clear message that their well-being matters. This can significantly improve employee engagement, leading to higher levels of commitment, initiative and loyalty.

Better team dynamics

Breaks allow workers to socialize and interact with their colleagues in a more relaxed setting. This can lead to improved team dynamics and enhanced collaboration.

Your employees are performing work that can be physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Giving them occasional breaks is the right thing to do. And it also just happens to be good for business.

John O’Connor is editorial director for McKnight’s.

Opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News columns are not necessarily those of McKnight’s.