Tea and lunch breaks

Employers are required to provide employees with the following paid rest breaks and unpaid meal breaks:

  • one paid 10-minute rest break if their work period is between two and four hours;
  • one paid 10-minute rest break and one unpaid 30-minute meal break if their work period is between four and six hours;
  • two paid 10-minute rest breaks and one unpaid 30-minute meal break if their work period is between six and eight hours.

If more than an eight hour period is worked, these requirements automatically extend to cover the additional hours on the same basis.

The timing of rest and meal breaks is flexible and can follow any arrangement agreed between employer and employee.  However, if an agreement can’t be reached, the rest and meal breaks should be spread evenly throughout the work period, where reasonable and practicable.

Employers and employees are free to agree to additional entitlements to rest and meal breaks — either paid or unpaid.

If your boss is not providing you with breaks, discuss this with them. Remember you can take a representative along with you if you are not comfortable raising this with your employer by yourself.

 

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