KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: Your Breaks
In our increasingly busy work life it is very important that we all take our breaks when they fall due. Breaks are not optional extras. They must be given and taken. Both our bodies and minds need a rest from the demands of the workplace. Our breaks are designed to give us that rest. Make sure you always get, and always take, your break.
We all need breaks while we’re at work. Our jobs are busy and demanding – there’s always so much to do. Sometimes it feels as though we’re doing the work of two or even three people. Now, perhaps more than ever before, it is important that we take our breaks. Our Enterprise Agreements and Awards contain specific provisions that require us to have breaks. They detail our entitlements to meal breaks, rest pauses and crib breaks (primarily for those who work at night or on shifts).
Why Have Breaks?
It seems a silly question, but the fact of the matter is that we are humans, not robots. Our bodies need breaks so we can replenish fluids, eat and have a chance to relax from the pressures and routines of what we are doing.
This, in turn, helps our concentration on the job – which means we are less likely to make mistakes or have accidents. It is for these very reasons that the SDA has incorporated into our Enterprise Agreements and Awards specific provisions that guarantee our rights to breaks, be they meal breaks, rest pauses or crib breaks.
Breaks are not optional. You have an absolute right to receive and take them when they fall due.
Employers may not:
- deny employees their breaks because there are not enough staff;
- require an employee to work through their break;
- require an employee who has gone off on their break to come back to work; or
- reduce the length of an employee’s break to a period less than provided for in the Enterprise Agreement or Award.
Check Your Enterprise Agreement or Award
Your Enterprise Agreement or Award contains specific provisions relating to your breaks. Your employer is obliged to know what these entitlements are and apply them to all employees. If you want to know what your break entitlements are, speak to your workplace Shop Steward, Organiser or contact an Information Officer on 3833 9500 – (Regional) 1800 657 141.
Involve the SDA
The SDA will help any member to get their breaks. The SDA Network – including workplace Shop Stewards, Organisers and our SDA office – is available to make sure you get your full set of entitlements.
You can download this flyer here: Your Breaks