Children’s Services Award Breaks

Understanding the nuances of breaks within the Children’s Services Award is essential for both employers and employees to ensure compliance and promote a work environment that prioritises wellbeing.

Meal Breaks

A meal break is an uninterrupted time of not less than 30 minutes, but no more than one hour that doesn’t count as time worked. An employee gets 1 meal break if they work more than 5 hours. If an employee is interrupted during the meal break from the employer, overtime will be paid until an uninterrupted meal break is taken.

An employee can’t be asked to work more than 5 hours without a meal break.

A rest break is a 10 minute paid break that counts as time worked. An employee gets:

Length of shift

Rest Break

4 hours or more

1 x paid rest break

7 hours of more

2 x paid rest break

*An employee can choose to have one rest break only if they wish.

Breaks between work periods

All employees should get a minimum of 10 hours between finishing work on one day and starting work the next day. Work includes any reasonable additional hours or overtime.

When employees don’t get a 10 hour break between shifts and they start at their normal shift time the next day they get paid the following:

  • Overtime rates for the hours they work, until they are released from work to have a 10 hour break between shifts; and
  • Ordinary hourly pay rate for any hours they cannot work because they are taking the break.

Rest Periods and Meal Breaks

The Children’s Services Award establishes clear guidelines regarding rest periods and meal breaks for employees. It stipulates the minimum duration and frequency of breaks based on the length of the workday. Familiarising yourself with these provisions ensures that employees receive adequate time for rest and meals, contributing to their overall health and job satisfaction.

Exceptions and Flexible Arrangements

While the award outlines standard break provisions, it also accommodates flexibility to meet the unique needs of the children’s services sector. Employers and employees may negotiate variations to break arrangements, provided that the agreed-upon conditions adhere to the overarching principles of fairness and consideration for employee wellbeing.

Record-Keeping and Documentation

Maintaining accurate records of breaks is a crucial aspect of compliance with the Children’s Services Award. Employers should keep detailed records of break times to ensure transparency and accountability. This documentation not only facilitates compliance but also serves as a valuable resource for both parties in case of disputes or clarifications.

Seeking Additional Guidance

For a comprehensive understanding of break provisions and related matters, employers and employees can access additional guidance from the Fair Work Commission, or contact our team for tailored advice for your specific workplace. Staying informed about updates and seeking clarification when needed contributes to a workplace culture that prioritises adherence to regulations and the wellbeing of all involved.

How HR Connect can help

If you require assistance with Award interpretation, compliance advice, disciplinary issues concerning staff, HR Connect can help. Our HR Advisors will be able to guide you through each step of the process and provide template documents as part of our subscription packages.

 

 

About HR Connect

HR Connect is one of Australia’s leading providers of HR & workplace safety advice services, designed to help small business owners make confident and compliant business decisions.

 

Disclaimer

The information provided in these knowledge base articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact HR Connect for advice. The information in this summary is correct as of August 2021.

This article will change over time, as Modern Award legislation relating to this Industry or Occupation is passed by the Fair Work Commission. Originally published on 20 February 2024.

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