Break times (Ireland)

Hi everyone, I am hoping to get your view on a query we have from an employee in Ireland regarding break entitlements. The employee is working 37 hours a week across 4 days with unpaid lunchbreak (9.25 hours per day excluding lunch). This role is usually a 5 day role however the employee requested to work across 4 days instead of 5 earlier this year and it was granted as it allowed the organisation to accomodate evening appointments. The employee currently has a 30 minute lunchbreak per day and has queried whether they should be entitled to another break as they are not taking their Friday lunch (bearing in mind they don't actually work on a Friday). Under the Organisation of Working Time Act they would be entitled to a 15 minute break after 4 hours 30 minutes and a 30 minute break after 6 hours. My understanding based on their hours is that they are entitled to a 30 minute break but I'm not sure if I am interpretting the legislation correctly and would like to know what exactly their legal entitlement is. Separate to this there may be scope for an extra break if it can be accomodated by their line manager without disgruntling other employees. I would appreciate your views/advice on this. Many thanks

  • Is this Irish employment law?
  • Steve Bridger

    | 0 Posts

    Community Manager

    8 Sep, 2021 10:31

    In reply to Aisling:

    I've moved this toi the "Ireland" group and tweaked the title... but it will still be accessible to everyone.
  • Hi Aisling
    I was wondering how did you resolve this? My own understanding would have aligned with yours that they are not entitled to an additional break in relation to their Friday lunch and the legislation is related to hours worked. However a compromise could be positive if it could be worked out.
  • Hi Aisling,
    I would think that if the daily hours have changed, then you would need to review the break entitlement according to the new shift.
    As with a 9.25 hour day, you will have a period of time either side of her normal 30 mins lunch break which is longer than 4.5 hours regardless of what time she takes it.
    It would appear to me that she would be entitled to another 15 minutes break each day due to having to work longer than 4.5 hours in a stint.
    So if she starts at 9am, takes her half hour at 1.30pm to 2pm. Her next break would have to be taken at 6.30pm so that you are not breaching the OWT act. If she works till 6.45pm when she is probably rostered to finish assuming the start time of 9am, it is 4.75 hours.
    Payment for the break depends on the Company.
    The alternative is to reduce her contracted hours to 9 hours daily which is a 36 hour week and reduce the weekly pay by an hour. She would need to take her half hour right in the middle of her shift then to comply, that might not always be feasible depending on your operation. So 9am to 6.30pm would be her new shift for example.
    Hope this helps.