Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Health Professionals and Support Services Award [MA000027].
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.
An employee gets the following number of breaks, depending on the ordinary 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 8 hours
|Over 8 hours
An employee and employer can agree to:
- change the time the employee’s meal break is taken
- an employee not taking a meal break (when they are working no more than 6 hours)
- the employee taking a single 20 minute rest break instead of taking 2, 10 minute rest breaks.
When a meal break isn't given
There is no extra payment (eg. penalty rate) for not getting a meal break.
Breaks between shifts after working overtime
Employees who work overtime have to get a minimum break of 10 hours between finishing work on 1 day and starting work the next day.
This minimum break between shifts applies only after an employee works overtime.
For breaks when working overtime, see When overtime applies.
If an employee doesn't get a break between shifts
If the employer instructs an employee to work so they don't get a 10 hour break between shifts when working overtime and they start at their normal shift time the next day they get paid:
- double time for the hours they work, until they're released from duty to have a 10 hour break between shifts
- when they eventually get their break between shifts, the ordinary hourly pay rate for any ordinary hours they don’t work because they're taking the break.
When employees get a 10 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:
- 9am - 6pm on Monday - Thursday
- 8am - 4pm on Friday.
She is entitled to a 10 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 8am she will only get 9 hours 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 Health Services Award summary.
Source reference: Health Professionals and Support Services Award [MA000027] clauses 27 and 28.2