In recent weeks, Fair Work has issued fines totaling tens of thousands of dollars to various company owners and operators who were found guilty of failing to provide employees with breaks that comply with the law. In one instance, an Ombudsman investigation discovered that employees of a washing firm were not given their statutory rights, which resulted in the business being fined more than $20,000. During yet another inquiry, the Commission rewarded a significant company for voluntarily disclosing an issue by having them agree to an Enforceable Undertaking with the Commission.
In the past, legal proceedings regarding break rostering were almost exclusively initiated by unions in the form of class lawsuits directed at major businesses. These class actions, which are now being considered by the courts, have the potential to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of thousands of employees. Before beginning the claims process, the unions had information provided to them by employees employed by these firms. However, Fair Work has recently expanded the scope of its inquiries to include rostered breaks, alerting the wider business sector to the fact that this development has taken place.
Breaks are a component of every Modern Award and Enterprise Bargaining Agreement, despite the fact that they are infamously difficult to comprehend and include in a rostering system. To begin, there is a wide variety of breaks available, including paid and unpaid breaks, breaks for meals and relaxation, and other forms of breaks. Each of them may have a very variable duration, and their entitlements can also be quite different depending on the kind of industrial device being used. Because of this, it is quite simple to get confused about which form of break applies.
Paid & Unpaid Breaks
These two exemptions are very easy to understand; the only thing that really matters is that you comply with the regulations to the letter. If employees are given unpaid breaks while they are legally entitled to paid breaks, the employer will be subject to significant penalties.
In the Australian Award system, rest breaks are arguably the sort of breaks that is taken the most often. There are scheduled relaxation periods provided for workers after they have put in a particular amount of hours at their jobs. These breaks are often a little bit shorter than meal breaks; they typically consist of ten minutes after a few hours of work, followed by another break at the conclusion of a shift that is longer. It is essential to verify since the duration differs based on the Award you have received. Typically, one receives payment for rest breaks.
Meal breaks often last for a longer period of time than rest intervals but are typically unpaid. These breaks, which often occur smack dab in the midst of an employee’s shift, last anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes and provide the worker time to relax and consume some food. Importantly, if workers need to skip this break because of business operational reasons, they are entitled to overtime rates for the remainder of their shift, or until the meal break has been taken, whichever comes first. This is because overtime rates are calculated based on the number of hours worked, not the number of breaks taken.
How exactly do I go about doing Roster Breaks?
Companies that are able to appropriately implement roster breaks often spend a significant amount of time learning the nuances of the break rules that apply to a variety of awards and then applying those rules to their rosters to assure compliance with the requirements. Because even seemingly little mistakes may put a company on the wrong side of the law, this often results in the company’s failure to comply with the regulations. Tanda just released an upgrade that includes automated pauses and breaks in our program. This function will guarantee that compliant breaks are taken for every shift that you roster by automatically adding the appropriate break duration to shifts that are covered by an Award that is administered by Tanda. Additionally, it logs the length of breaks taken by workers, making it simple to check the data in the event that Fair Work conducts an investigation into your company.
How the brakes with automated stops operate
- Each rule for an automatic break takes into account the following:
- What is the shortest possible shift in order to qualify for a break?
- How long must the mandatory automatic break be before it kicks in?
- Is there a payment for the break?
- Is it mandatory that employees log in and out during breaks?
When a shift is created, breaks are automatically added to the shift if it is longer than the minimum length set for that shift.
If a break is designated to be unpaid, the duration of the break will be subtracted from the total amount of hours that is rostered.
When a break is paid for, the overall amount of time that is rostered does not change.
Because automatic break rules and manual breaks are incompatible with one another, if a manual break is added to a roster, the automated break rules will be removed from the shift and will no longer be in effect. Eliminating the manual break will result in the automatic brakes being activated once again.