What does the labour law state regarding lunch and tea breaks
Are employees entitled to lunch breaks?
Did you know that there is no “tea breaks” in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. It only deals with lunch breaks. However, nothing prohibits an employer and employee to enter into an agreement for tea breaks. The fact that the Act does not deal with it, means that the employer and employee is free to include it at terms agreeable to them both. But it is not obligatory.
Section 14 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act deals with lunch intervals and reads as follows:
Question: “Are employees entitled to lunch breaks?”
An employer must give an employee who works continuously for more than five hours a meal interval of at least one continuous hour.
During a meal interval the employee may be required or permitted to perform only duties that cannot be left unattended and cannot be performed by another employee.
An employee must be remunerated for a meal interval in which the employee is required to work or is required to be available for work; and for any portion of a meal interval that is in excess of 75 minutes, unless the employee lives on the premises at which the work-place is situated. For the purposes of subsection, work is continuous unless it is interrupted by an interval of at least 60 minutes.
An agreement in writing may; reduce the meal interval to not less than 30 minutes; dispense with a meal interval for an employee who works fewer than six hours on a day.
In conclusion, employees are definitely entitled to a lunch break should they meet the above requirements. Furthermore, an employer may enter into an agreement with an employee regarding tea breaks.
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