Streamlining Operations: Empowering Flexibility and Efficiency with Workstem Rostering and Break Management in Australian Businesses

Streamlining Operations: Empowering Flexibility and Efficiency with Workstem Rostering and Break Management in Australian Businesses

Table of content

  1. What are the breaks?
  2. Why are breaks important for businesses?
  3. What are the different types of breaks?
  4. The impact of breaks on australian companies: challenges and consequences
  5. How can Workstem assist you?

What are the breaks?

According to the number of hours worked per shift or day, modern awards typically include specified break requirements for various employee categories. Employers are obligated by law to see that these conditions are fulfilled and that workers get the appropriate amount of time for breaks. Businesses need to be able to confirm that employees took breaks and when they happened by recording information about them in their corporate records.

Why are breaks important for businesses?

For a variety of reasons, breaks are crucial to running a business. It has been demonstrated that taking a break at work—whether it’s for a quick cup of coffee, a stroll around the block, or lunch—reduces stress, lowers the risk of injury, enhances sustained concentration, and boosts motivation.

Even though breaks only take up a minor percentage of a shift, break entitlements have been a major source of contention for some of Australia’s top companies. Recent legal proceedings against two of the largest firms in the nation focused on workers’ failure to take their allotted 10-minute rest breaks led to claims of underpayments of more than $100 million.

What are the different types of breaks?

Type

Description

Meal Breaks

  • Longer periods (30 to 60 minutes) of uninterrupted rest that allow employees to eat a meal.
  • They are usually paid breaks and provide enough time for both rest and eating.
  • The number of meal breaks an employee is entitled to may vary based on the award and the duration of their shift.

Rest Breaks

  • These breaks may be known by various names such as “crib breaks”, “rest pauses”, or “tea breaks”.
  • Short breaks (usually less than 20 minutes) that provide employees with a brief opportunity to rest.
  • The duration and number of rest breaks can vary depending on the award.

Breaks between Work Periods/Shifts

  • Some awards additionally stipulate that workers must take a minimum rest between their second and third shifts the following day.
  • For instance, under the Retail Award, an employee is required to take a minimum 12-hour break before reporting for duty the next day.
  • If an employee starts working during their 12-hour break, they are entitled to a 200% pay rate up to their next 12-hour break.

The impact of breaks on australian companies: challenges and consequences

Reports have recently emerged regarding the denial of paid 10-minute rest periods by two prominent and affluent businesses in Australia. This alarming issue undermines break compliance, which is essential for enhancing efficiency within organizations.

According to the Fast Food Award and the Clerks Award, employees in Australia are entitled to a 10-minute paid rest break. However, if these breaks are not provided or accurately recorded, employers may gain 10 minutes of unpaid labor from their employees. While this may seem insignificant on an individual basis, the cumulative effect of thousands of workers skipping breaks results in substantial underpayments.

Maintaining accurate records is crucial to avoid discrepancies and inconsistencies within businesses. In some cases, companies may lack the necessary documentation to support employees’ break compliance, even if the breaks were taken.

For example, while a record may indicate a 30-minute dinner break, it may fail to specify the timing of the break. This distinction is crucial, as employee entitlements differ depending on whether the break occurred during regular business hours or overtime.

It is evident that even minor errors in internal procedures and accounting records can have significant implications for employee compensation and lead to substantial underpayments in well-resourced businesses.

By addressing break compliance and improving record-keeping practices, Australian businesses can enhance efficiency and ensure that employees receive their entitled rest periods.

How can Workstem assist you?

Workstem is a one-stop payroll & HR platform with an award interpretation module and customised attendance formulas that ensure employers stay compliant with Fair Work Meal and Rest Breaks. The platform simplifies HR processes, reduces administrative burdens, and offers a user-friendly interface for small businesses and large enterprises alike.

Experience the benefits of Workstem for yourself!

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