Breaks

A rest break allows an employee to rest for a short period of time during work hours. A meal break is a longer period of uninterrupted rest that allows you to eat a meal.

A rest break is a 10 minute paid break that counts as time worked.

A meal break is a 45 – 60 minute unpaid break that doesn’t count as time worked. An employer and employee can agree to a 30 minute unpaid meal break.

What breaks am I entitled to?


I’m full-time:

A full-time employee gets the following number of breaks, depending on the hours they actually work (not their rostered hours).

  • If you work less than 5 hours: 0 rest and 0 meal break
  • If you work 5 -7 hours: 2 rest breaks and 1 meal break
  • Over 7 hours: 2 rest breaks and 1 meal break
I’m part-time:

A part-time employee gets the following number of breaks, depending on the hours they actually work (not their rostered hours).

  • Less than 4 hours: 0 rest and 0 meal break
  • 4-5 hours: 1 rest and 0 meal break
  • 5-7 hours: 1 rest and 1 meal break
  • Over 7 hours: 2 rest breaks and 1 meal break
I’m casual:

A casual employee gets the following number of breaks, depending on the hours they actually work (not their rostered hours).

  • Less than 5 hours: 0 rest and 0 meal break
  • 5-7 hours: 0 rest and 1 meal break
  • Over 7 hours: 2 rest breaks and 1 meal break

My employer isn’t giving me my rightful entitlements, what do I do?

  1. Check the Award and National Employment Standards. Read over this document or get in touch with us if you’re not sure, and we’ll confirm whether your employer is breaching legislation. If it doesn’t add up, then investigate!
  2. Gather your evidence. Screenshot SMS or Facebook messages, forward emails to another account and take photos of any handwritten notes or payslips. Make sure you have copies of everything in safe place.
  3. Contact your employer. Make it clear that to them they are breaching the Hair and Beauty Award, or National Employment Standards. Email, write or SMS your employer and state that you are asking for your legal entitlements. Stick to the facts and try not to be emotional. The Hair and Beauty Award and National Employment Standards are correct, not your employer. There are no exceptions to the law!
  4. Take it further. If your employer still refuses to give you your entitled leave, get in touch, and we can help escalate the situation through the Fair Work Commission or your local small claims court.