Breaks

Employees covered by the Hospitality Award have to get the following breaks.

Hours worked Rest break (paid) Meal break (unpaid)
More than 5 hours and up to 6 hours No rest break One meal break (if requested), up to 30 minutes
More than 6 hours and up to 8 hours No rest break One meal break, no less than 30 minutes
More than 8 hours and up to 10 hours One 20 minute break, which may be taken as two 10 minute breaks One meal break, no less than 30 minutes
More than 10 hours Two 20 minute breaks One meal break, no less than 30 minutes

Meal breaks

Employees who are required to work more than 5 hours and up to 6 hours, need to give their employer a written request before they start their shift if they want to take a meal break. The employer can’t unreasonably refuse the request.

The written request will apply to all shifts over 5 hours, unless the employer and employee agree otherwise. This arrangement can be reviewed at any time.

If the employee is working more than 6 hours the employer must release them for an unpaid meal break. The unpaid break must be taken no earlier than 2 hours after starting work and no later than 6 hours after starting work.

Rest breaks

Rest breaks should be spread evenly across the employees shift. If an employee works continuously for more than 5 hours after their meal break, you must give them another 20 minute paid break.

Example

Loretta is a new part-time kitchen hand with Caesar’s Pizza Emporium Pty Ltd. Her ordinary hours of work are Monday to Friday, 4:00pm - 10:30pm (6 and a half hours per shift). During her first shift, Loretta asks her employer, Giovanni, what breaks she is entitled to take during her shifts.

Giovanni tells Loretta that under the Hospitality Award, she can take one unpaid meal break of 30 minutes which will be rostered between 5:00pm and 9:30pm. Giovanni also tells Loretta that if she is rostered to take her meal break after 9:00pm, she will also be allowed a 20 minute paid break between 6:00pm - 9:00pm.  

What happens if employees don’t get a meal break?

If your hospitality employees can’t take their meal break at the arranged time, and their shift is more than 6 hours, (for example if your business is very busy at the time they are rostered to take their break), the employees must be paid an extra penalty until they’re able to take a break or until the shift ends.

If there was no arranged time for the break, the employees must be paid the additional amount from the end of 6 hours until they are able to take a break or until their shift ends.

Visit Finding the right pay for tools to help you calculate penalty rates.

Breaks during overtime

A hospitality employee who works more than 2 hours of overtime after the end of their shift must receive an additional 20 minute paid break.

Special provisions for employees in South Australia and Western Australia

The Hospitality Award has different break entitlements for employees in South Australia and Western Australia. For more information, read Schedule B and C of the award or Contact us.

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Page last updated: 12 Sep 2013