Meal break bill gets first reading
A bill that will remove rules around rest and meal breaks put in place by the previous government has passed its first reading in Parliament.Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said the legislation passed in 2008 had created "a host of problems" beca
A bill that will remove rules around rest and meal breaks put in place by the previous government has passed its first reading in Parliament.
Labour Minister Kate Wilkinson said the legislation passed in 2008 had created "a host of problems" because it was too prescriptive.
"Unfortunately, the practical implications of current law simply do not match up with its intentions," she said tonight.
"I have received numerous complaints from workers, including teachers, supermarket night-fill staff and healthcare professionals who have been adversely affected since the 2008 law came into force last year."
Ms Wilkinson said her bill would maintain all the rights of employees to reasonable breaks but would offer greater flexibility around when they could be taken.
"It will provide a requirement for employers to either allow for rest and meal breaks that give employees a reasonable opportunity for refreshment, or make compensatory provision," she said.
"Compensation could be made through employees negotiating later start or earlier finishing times or accumulated time in lieu -- arrangements that can't occur right now."
The Employment Relations (Rest and Meal Breaks) Amendment Bill has been sent to the industrial relations select committee for public submissions.
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