An employee’s entitlement to a tea break has generated some issues in Post Offices for part-time workers. The issues relate to whether part-time workers are entitled to a paid tea break.
The Enterprise Agreement commits Post to maintain tea break arrangements that apply at individual workplaces.
Despite what workers may or may not be entitled to under the Post EA, Post still has the ‘duty of care’ under the WHS Act to provide safe systems for work for employees. This includes ensuring that workers have adequate rest breaks or rest periods to control risks, to relieve fatigue.
Where current arrangements do not include a tea break, rest periods should be taken when workers are showing signs of fatigue and reduced performance.
An employee who works between 3 and 5 hours on a day should be entitled to a paid tea break for rest.
Post has no problem with Post Office workers working past their finishing time for no pay. Part-time workers don’t walk off the job at their finishing time. They finish serving customers. They balance up, lock their drawers in the safe, close the doors etc. But they are not paid for work beyond their finishing time. They should be allowed a paid tea break.