Know Your Rights – Breaks

Breaks are not optional extras. They must be taken and cannot be withdrawn by your employer.

It’s very important to take your breaks when they fall due because they are designed to give you a rest.

A break makes you more efficient and better able to concentrate when you return to work.

 Jobs are becoming busy and more demanding and that is why breaks are essential.

Why have a break?

Workers need breaks to relax from the pressures and routines of work.

Breaks help concentration which means mistakes or accidents are less likely to occur.

Breaks are not optional

You have an absolute right to receive and take them when they fall due.

Employers must not:

  • Deny employees their breaks because there are not enough staff;
  • Tell employees that they have to take their break at the end of their shift;
  • Require an employee who has gone on their break to come back to work; or
  • Reduce the length of an employee’s break to a period that’s less than provided for in the Workplace Agreement or Award.

Check your Award or Agreement

Your Agreement covers your wages and conditions at work including details of your breaks.

Your employer is obliged to know what these entitlements are and apply them to all employees.

If you want to know what your break entitlements are, speak to the SDA Delegate in your workplace, your SDA Union Organiser or contact us on (02) 4961 4694 and speak to our Information Officer.

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