Posted by: Skin care centre owner | 2010/11/10

Lunch breaks

If I understand the Basic Conditions of Employment Act correctly, an employee has to work for 5 consecutive hours to enjoy an hour break which, if by arrangement, can be reduced to 30 minutes wherein the employee can be required to perform tasks if remunerated. In the beauty industry, therapists often have short breaks between clients when they can make calls, get something to eat, pop out to get a take away coffee, etc. Are they entitled to a dedicated lunch break as well if they haven''t work 5 consecutive hours?

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Our expert says:
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Your understanding of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act is absolutely correct. After 5 hours at work an employee is entitled to 1 hour but can be reduced by agreement to 30 minutes.

The ECEA is unfortunately implemented across the board and doesn't take into account the variances of differing industries. It is suggested that you enter into a specific agreement where people are entitled to a half hour break after 5 hours at work but that they be on standby incase a therapist is needed. These agreements should be reduced to writing as proof for same.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Alan Govender | 2011/01/11

Is the employee entitled by law that he can leave his work site to do whatever he pleases during his lunch break. If the employee is not allowed to leave his work site due to the short duration of the lunch break-30 minutes- would I get in trouble with the CCMA. Is there a law that governs this aspect

Reply to Alan Govender
Posted by: Jacques | 2010/12/10

I understand your situation, propose to your empoyees that you will give them a dedicated lunch break (30-60min) but they then have to stay busy the rest of the time. It sounds as if they have gotten used to a situation where they can leave the premisis or take breaks whenever they want and then want a lunch break as well. Also remember inform them that a company does not pay an employee during tea/lunch breaks. If they work from 9am-5pm and want a 30 min lunch time then you will only pay them for 7,5 hours.

I work in the production industry and we work and get paid for 8,4 hours every day. We stipulate in the contracts that lunch/tea breaks can be disrupted or cancelled according to production requirements. We try to give the guys two 15min breaks spread out through their shifts but this can fall away all together if the work load is too heavy at that time.

Hope you can sort out an arangement that works for you and your employees.

Reply to Jacques
Posted by: Skin care centre owner | 2010/11/18

Consider for a moment, that greed is not the driving force behind my question. I''m the one responsible to ensure the business makes enough money so that salaries, rent and other overheads are paid. When I can''t pay this, you''ll be saying I managed the business poorly.

Reply to Skin care centre owner
Posted by: wow | 2010/11/16

Slave driver !

Reply to wow

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