Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Security Services Industry Award [MA000016].
A rest break is a paid break that counts as time worked.
A meal break is a 30 minute (or more) unpaid break that doesn't 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
|4 hours or less
|4 or more hours - less than 8 hours
||10 minutes’ break in total
|8 or more hours - less than 10 hours
||20 minutes’ break in total
|10 or more hours - less than 12 hours
||25 minutes’ break in total
|12 hours or more
||30 minutes’ break in total
An employee who works more than 5 hours has to get at least 1 meal break, unless it's operationally impractical.
Check the Security Award for information about long break entitlements.
Where possible, when an employee is working for 8 hours or more, the rest break has to be taken between 4 hours and 5 hours from when the shift started.
Employees can take their rest breaks:
- all at once, or
- in smaller portions throughout their shift.
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 8 hours between finishing work on 1 shift and starting work the next shift. Work includes any reasonable additional hours or overtime.
If an employee doesn't get a break between shifts
If the employer instructs an employee to work so they don’t get an 8 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 an 8 hour break between shifts
- when they eventually get their break between shifts, the minimum hourly pay rate for any ordinary hours they don’t work because they are taking the break.
When employees get an 8 hour break between shifts when working overtime 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 minimum hourly 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 an 8 hour break between shifts.
Alice's employer asks her to work an extra 5 hours on Thursday so that she finishes at 11pm. If she starts work on Friday at her normal time of 6am she will only get 7 hours break.
If Alice starts work at:
- 6am on Friday, then she will be paid double the minimum hourly pay rate for all hours worked on Friday
- 7am on Friday, then she will be paid the minimum hourly 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 Security Award summary.
Source reference: Security Services Industry Award [MA000016] clauses 14.2, 14.3 and 14.4