Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the General Retail Industry Award [MA000004].
A rest break is a 10 minute paid break that counts as time worked.
A meal break is a 30 - 60 minute unpaid break that doesn’t count as time worked, except for shiftworkers.
Meal breaks for shiftworkers are paid and count as time worked.
An employee gets the following number of breaks, depending on the hours they actually work (not their rostered hours).
|Number of hours worked
|Less than 4 hours
|4 or more hours - 5 hours
|More than 5 - less than 7 hours
|7 or more hours - less than 10 hours
|10 or more hours
An employee who works for more than 5 hours must get at least 1 meal break.
The time to take breaks and the length of breaks form part of an employee’s roster. This means an employee has to be told about when to take their breaks and how long they are.
An employee who gets 2 rest breaks has to take 1 break in the first half of their shift, and the other break in the second half of their shift.
Employees can't be asked to:
- take a rest or meal break within 1 hour of starting or finishing work
- take a rest break combined with a meal break
- work more than 5 hours without a meal break.
When a meal break isn't given
There is no extra payment (eg. penalty rate) for not getting a meal break.
Breaks between shifts
Employees have to get a minimum break of 12 hours between finishing work on one day and starting work the next day.
An employer and employee can agree to reduce the break to between 10 and 12 hours.
If an employee doesn't get a break between shifts
When employees don't get a 12 hour break between shifts and they start at their normal shift time the next day they get paid:
- double time for the hours they work, until they are released from duty to have a 12 hour break between shifts and
- when they eventually get their break between shifts, the ordinary hourly pay rate for any ordinary hours they don't work because they are taking the break.
When employees get a 12 hour break between shifts but start work later than their normal shift the next day so they get a break they get paid:
- for all the hours they work
- the ordinary pay rate for the hours between when they were originally rostered to start work and when they actually started work.
Example: When employees have to start later to get a break between shifts
Alice is a full-time employee who works ordinary hours:
- 11am - 8pm on Monday - Thursday
- 8am - 4pm on Friday.
She is entitled to a 12 hour break between shifts.
Alice's employer asks her to work an extra hour on Thursday so that she finishes at 9pm. If she starts work on Friday at her normal time of 8am she will only get an 11 hour break.
If Alice starts work at:
- 8am on Friday, then she will be paid double the ordinary hourly pay rate for all hours worked on Friday
- 9am on Friday, then she will be paid the ordinary pay rate for the hours she:
- didn't work from 8am - 9am (because this hour is part of her ordinary hours)
- worked from 9am - 4pm.
To find out more about who this award applies to, go to the Retail Award summary.
Source reference: General Retail Industry Award [MA000004] clauses 30.5 and 31