An employee recently brought a personal grievance claim because she alleged she was unaware she was entitled to paid rest breaks.

The employer agreed that it had not specifically brought the right to breaks to the employee’s attention (they are not mentioned in the employment agreement) but claimed she must have known about them as other staff took their breaks.

The ERA held that there is an onus on the employer to provide the breaks and an onus to ensure employees know they are entitled to them.

The ERA ordered compensation for the hurt and humiliation suffered from not being advised of the right to breaks.  In this case the employee (self-represented) did not seek a penalty to be imposed.  One would have been likely if it had been sought.

If you need assistance getting your employment agreements right give me a call on (04) 473 6850.