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    Understanding break entitlements in Australia

    Ah, breaks. What would the workplace be like without them? They keep us sane and productive and are like car maintenance – you can’t expect a vehicle to run properly if you never stop the engine. That’s why employers must know their employees’ break entitlements in Australia to ensure they maintain happy and healthy staff (and meet legal requirements).

    Understanding the ins and outs of breaks can be a real struggle. What counts as an official break? How long does it have to last? When do you have to pay for it?

    Pour yourself a cup of coffee (that counts as a break, right?), and let’s explore fundamental things to ensure your business is compliant while your employees can tackle their daily tasks.

    break entitlements in Australia
    Short break entitlements in Australia according to the Fair Work Commission

    The main document governing employment in Australia – the Fair Work Act (FWA) 2009 – states your staff is entitled to several breaks throughout their working time. The exact conditions heavily depend on your specific industry, though.

    Following employment regulations, your staff can have paid and unpaid break entitlements in Australia. These include:

    • Pauses for rest are 10-min time slots that allow your people to leave their workplace for something like a quick coffee fix or leg stretch. When your employees take a rest pause, they should usually get paid for their time, as this is a normal part of their daily work routine. You don’t hire robots, do you?

    • Meal time is typically a 30-60-min pause for employees to eat. The employment type, industry, and entitlements available to a particular employee determine if they are paid. You should also check with your award to determine how often and when exactly your people can take this break.

    All pauses should be rational despite the lack of uniform rules. If you’re unsure about specific break entitlements in Australia for your industry, check the award under which your employee falls. Most of the time, staff are obliged to work 5 hours straight before they can get a 30-min pause.

    Example: Let’s say your company operates in an industrial sector. As defined by the FWA, your full-time workers spending 7-10 hours daily on their duties can have one 30-60-min unpaid lunch break and two 10-minute paid rest pauses.

    Managing break compliance doesn’t have to be hard

    In fact, it doesn’t even have to take a second of your valuable time. With the right tools, you can supervise your staff’s time slots without manually keeping up with each employee’s entitlements, double-checking spreadsheets, and trying to make sense of all of it.

    Purpose-built applications helping to deal with break entitlements in Australia, like one developed by CleverTime, can:

    • Monitor employees’ clock ons and clock offs to let you know when they take their breaks.

    • Ensure everyone arranges their breaks at intervals that meet FWA and award-specific requirements.

    • Set up automated alerts to know when breaks need to be taken or when employees exceed their maximum work hours – and so much more.

    Stay aware of and compliant with break entitlements in Australia with CleverTime!

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