Breaks

Rest breaks and meal breaks

A rest break allows an employee to rest for a short period of time during work hours. Rest breaks are also referred to as 'crib breaks', 'rest pauses' or 'tea breaks'.

A meal break is a longer period of uninterrupted rest that allows the employee to eat a meal.

Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements provide for paid and unpaid rest breaks and meal breaks, including:

  • the length of the breaks
  • when they need to be taken
  • the rules about payment.

Breaks between shifts

Awards and registered agreements may provide for a minimum amount of time off between the end of one shift and the start of another.

To find information about the minimum break requirements in your industry, please select from the list below.

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The options in the list come from the most common awards.

Minimum entitlements and obligations usually come from an award or registered agreement. If you don’t know if there is an award or registered agreement that applies, go to our Awards and agreements page for help.

To find a registered agreement, go to the Fair Work Commission websiteexternal-icon.png.

Use our 3 step form to help you Find your Award.

Every award and registered agreement has information about who is covered by it. To work out who is covered read:

  • the coverage clause
  • the job classifications.

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Think a mistake might have been made?

Mistakes can happen. The best way to fix them usually starts with talking.

Check out our Help resolving workplace issues section for practical advice on:

  • figuring out if a mistake has been made
  • talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
  • getting help from us if you can't resolve it.

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