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No lunch break - is this legal

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WallyM View Drop Down
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  Quote WallyM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: No lunch break - is this legal
    Posted: 24/March/2019 at 16:16
I work for a well known national company that supplies commercial and residential services.
In the six years I have been working for them I have almost never had a scheduled lunch break. The few times that I have had a lunch break it was actually scheduled during travel time between jobs. I know this is the same for all the technicians in my branch and for the technicians in the next closest branch. If this is replicated across the country, and I think it is, that will be hundreds of hours per day.
I think that some technicians have been adding the half hour to their timesheet as worked hours so at least they are getting paid for the break that they did not take.
So my first question is, is this legal?
I thought that employees had to have a scheduled break after a certain number of hours.

This brings me to my next question.
Would these employees have a case for compensation?

This brings me to my next question.
If so, would this be something that could be done through

WallyM View Drop Down
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  Quote WallyM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24/March/2019 at 16:20
Posted before I'd finished

Would this be something that could be done through something like a class action?

If so,how does someone go about getting this started?

Thanks in advance, Wally

citizen-joe View Drop Down
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  Quote citizen-joe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24/March/2019 at 17:46
Probably the best way to approach this is through a union, are you in one if not do you know which one has coverage for your work area?

jaazzz View Drop Down
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  Quote jaazzz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24/March/2019 at 23:18

The accepted standard in Australia is employees be allowed a minimum of 1x30 minute unpaid break after 5 hours of work.

If employees are missing out on that allocated time on a regular basis then you have grounds to make a complaint. Compensation would only be warranted if the employer was making you work through the unpaid 30 minute break, so in affect you are working 8.5 hrs & getting paid for 8 for example..

The first action to take would be to approach the employer with your concerns & ask that the proper work/break protocol be put in place & adhered to... As pointed out by Joe, if the employees were union members, then it would be simply a matter of taking the next step of involving the union to talk on your behalf directly with the employers... That is in part what unions are for... To keep employers honest & act on behalf of their members when & as required.

If you are not union members, well that means you have to approach the employer yourselves, something many employees are not comfortable doing. The power imbalance is obvious, & unscrupulous employers can threaten or even take action to have 'trouble makers' removed..

Only other avenue open to you is to report it to fair work Australia & hope for some satisfaction that way.

   
Any opinion given should not be accepted as legal advice.

Please post your legal questions in a forum rather than sending a PM. Thanks

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