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Rest Breaks to be Paid Separately

Due to law changes to rest/tea break provisions; it has caused a huge admin nightmare for businesses that pay their staff piece meal breaks only. This is because they get paid by tonne, bag, bin, kilo, row etc, when they take a 10-15 minute break they are not actually earning wages, therefore, they must be compensated separately.

This is what is being advised:

  • Piece rates should not have the paid break built into them.

  • Paid breaks must be shown separate on payslips.

  • The rate of pay for rest breaks needs be calculated based on the rate of pay each employee would have received at the time of the break. So, what they COULD or WOULD have earnt for that 10-15 minutes.

If you are paying your staff piece rates only, then you should also be tracking hours. Our recommendation is to calculate their average hourly rate and pay them based on this.

The question now is, whether you average it over each day or the entire week…

Averaging it over each individual day would potentially be an admin nightmare, we recommend that averaging it over the week would be fine. However, we have heard from a labour inspector that this only works in the event the entitlement is even across the days.

Whatever you do, ensure you have calculations to back up how you came to pay the breaks, always pay above minimum wage and include it separately on the payslips.

Remember, you must always be fair and reasonable. Please call me for further advice.

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