Thursday, April 17, 2014

Q: I work part time 24hrs a wk in a barbers so as you know standing all day long cutting hair in the one spot. Anyway no one ever takes the 15 min breaks including myself in which were intitled to, as our boss is very contrary infact she has never even mentioned it to us. Anyway there are times I have stood cutting hair from 9.30am to 3.00pm non stop and still she will only give you a half hr break. Unfortunately I smoke so I may step out side for 1 to 2 smokes through out the day,it takes less than 2 mins to smoke a cigarette,so I'm not even taking my 15 mins break each time in that regard. Is my employers rules right in this situation? because it definitely doesn't feel right. My other co workers don't even smoke and they too only get a half hr break after working an 8 hr shift per day and nothing else.


A: Employees’ entitlements to rest breaks are set out in section 12 of the Organisation of Working Time Act 1997. 

The Labour Court has held that employers must put in place proper procedures to ensure that the employee receives those breaks. You are entitled to a 15 minute break after working for 4.5 hours and 30 minutes after working 6 hours (which may include the first 15 minutes). 

The employer should ensure that you take these breaks and by refusing to allow you breaks she is in breach of the Organisation of Working Time Act.