Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award [MA000010].
An employee who works for more than 5 hours must get at least 1 meal break of not less than 20 minutes.
Employees in the technical field of work, technical workers, tracers and draughtspersons, production planners, trainee engineers and trainee scientist employees (other than vehicle manufacturing employees) are entitled to 1 paid 10 minute rest break each morning.
Continuous shiftworkers are entitled to a 20 minute paid meal break each shift that counts as time worked.
Check the Manufacturing Award for information about extra breaks in certain situations and for some employees engaged on ship trials.
Vehicle manufacturing employees in the technical field
Vehicle manufacturing employees in the technical field of work are entitled to a 30-60 minute meal break to be taken between 11:30am and 2pm Monday to Friday for day workers. The timing of the break will be agreed between the employer and majority of employees.
Technical field employees are also entitled to a paid 10 minute morning tea break at a time determined by the employer and are entitled to a refreshment in the afternoon without interrupting work.
Vehicle manufacturing employees not in the technical field
Vehicle manufacturing employees who aren't in the technical field are entitled to a 15 minute morning or afternoon tea break. If both a morning and afternoon break are given, at least one of the breaks has to be paid.
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.
Employees can't be asked to work more than 5 hours without a meal break.
Check clause 18.1 of the Manufacturing Award for information on when an employee can be asked to work up to 6 hours without a meal break.
When a meal break isn't given
An employee will be paid the rate they were receiving immediately before their scheduled break, if they are told by their employer to work during their break because of:
- any breakdown of a plant, or
- routine maintenance of a plant which can only be done while the plant is idle.
Otherwise, if an employee doesn't get their meal break when they are supposed to they have to be paid time and a half from the time of their scheduled meal break until they get a meal break.
Breaks between shifts after working overtime
For information about breaks between shifts for vehicle manufacturing employees, see clause 56.5 of the award. For all other employees the following applies.
Employees who work overtime have to get a minimum break of 10 hours between finishing work on one day and starting work the next day.
This minimum break between shifts applies only after an employee works overtime.
An employer and employee can agree to reduce the break to between 8 and 10 hours.
For shiftworkers, the minimum break between shifts is 8 hours instead of 10 hours when overtime is worked because of:
- changing shift rosters
- another employee replacing a shiftworker who doesn't work their shift, or
- employees agreeing to swap shifts.
If an employee doesn't get a break between shifts
When employees (other than casuals) don’t get a 10 hour break (or 8 hours for shiftworkers in some circumstances) 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 10 hour break between shifts (or 8 hours for shiftworkers in some circumstances) 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 (other than casuals) don’t get a 10 hour break (or 8 hours for shiftworkers in some circumstances) 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:
- 9am – 6pm on Monday – Thursday
- 6am – 2pm on Friday.
She is entitled to a 10 hour break between shifts.
Alice’s employer asks her to work an extra 3 hours on Thursday so that she finishes at 9pm. If she starts work on Friday at her normal time of 6am she will only get a 9 hour break.
If Alice starts work at:
- 6am on Friday, then she will be paid double the ordinary hourly pay rate for all hours worked on Friday
- 7am on Friday, then she will be paid the ordinary pay rate for the hours she:
- didn’t work from 6am – 7am (because this hour is part of her ordinary hours)
- worked from 7am – 2pm.
To find out more about who this award applies to, go to the Manufacturing Award summary.
Source reference: Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award [MA000010] clauses 32.11, 18.1, 32.12, 49, 50 and 51