Under the Clerks Award, you must provide your full-time, part-time and casual clerical employees with the following breaks:

Hours worked Rest break (paid) Meal break (unpaid)
Up to 3 hours No rest break No meal break
More than 3 hours and up to 5 hours One 10 minute rest break No meal break
More than 5 hours but less than 8 hours One 10 minute rest break One 30-60 minute meal break
8 hours or more but less than 10 hours Two 10 minute rest breaks (one before and one after meal break) One 30-60 minute meal break

If you have shiftworkers, they will have different entitlements to breaks. See clause 28 of the Clerks Award for more details.

If your employees are required to work through meal breaks, they are entitled to be paid double time until they are allowed to take a meal break.

For tools to help you determine your penalty obligations, go to Finding the right pay or contact us.


Marcus is a new part-time clerical employee with John Gray Technical Services Pty Ltd. His ordinary hours of work are Monday to Friday, 8.00am - 1.30pm (5 ½ hours per shift). During his first shift, Marcus asks his employer, John, what breaks he is entitled to take during his shifts.

John tells Marcus that under the Clerks Award, he can take one 10 minute paid rest break per shift, and one unpaid meal break of 30 - 60 minutes to be taken no later than 1.00pm. 

Rest period after overtime

When overtime is worked, your employees are entitled to a break of at least 10 hours between finishing work on one day and starting work the next day.

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Page last updated: 17 Sep 2010