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Staff Breaks And The Law


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We have been running a lunch club attached to our morning session. We then shut for 15 minutes before the afternoon session. Of course in practice we never get a break as parents are late arriving or want to chat or there is prep to do for the afternoon. However, legally we had to show a break on paper.

 

In September we are extending to offer lunch club to both sessions meaning the preschool will not shut. We employ a LC supervisor who has been working with one staff member (on a rota basis). We are now stuck! We are aware that in reality we will all muck in and not go off for a break plus we all eat with the children so nobody will miss their lunch BUT on paper we have to cater for all staff getting a 20 minute break in the day.

 

Any ideas or experience?

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Hi Pandamonium,

 

It all depends on how many staff you have, how many you need for ratio cover, which staff are qualified etc.

In my setting I stagger the staffs lunch breaks over a period of 11:30 to 1pm. I also split shifts so that there is an overhang ( not sure what word to use) ie: staff 1 works am session until 1pm, staff 2 works pm session starting at 12:30. Both these staff are not entitled to breaks ( less than 4 hr shifts) so they cover for the full time staff.( between 12:30 & 1pm)

Hope this helps.

 

p.s. This is on paper and most often all the staff like to sit together with the children to eat, even if it is their "lunch break" time. :D

 

I do believe that staff do need a break, even if it is a 10 min walk for some fresh air.

 

Peggy

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Exactly Peggy, it needs to work on paper :)

 

When we go back in September, most sessions will only require 2 staff. There are 4 level 3 and 2 assistants that work to a rota. 1 member of L3 does LC with the employed LC supervisor.

 

The other member technically has a break during lunchtime but as we've both said, we all tend to eat together anyway. I'm concerned about the LC staff not getting a break tho. I'm wondering about extending the LC supervisor to stay at the beginning of hte next session as that is register time so all children together. We do have a parent rota but can't depend on that.

 

I just can't get my head round it today as too much else in there! Help!

OK sessions run from 9am til 11.30 (but staff start at 8.30) then lunch club from then until 12.30. We used to do LC until 12.20 and have the 15 mins closed then reopen for pm session from 12.35 until 3.05

We want pm children to have access to LC too so I guess we will run LC from 11.30 - 12.30 then allow 5 mins hand over time to start pm 12.35 still. We don't want to finish at 3pm as we are on a school site and they finish at 3pm. Parents can't be in both places at once!

 

Any thoughts?

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Extended day care!

 

We are currently registered as this but I think when we extend LC it will become full day care. Or will it? I'm confused! The children will attend sessions so it will still be sessional won't it????

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Good question Linda,

 

I provide sessional choices for parents BUT because I am continually open over 4 hrs I am registered with Ofsted as full day care.

 

pandamonium, although you say you only need 2 staff ( a presume number ratio's) I never have less than 3 in case a member of stff needs to leave the room, attend to a sick child etc.

 

You will need to find out the implications of going to full day care, there are subtle difference from sessional care. Will some children be able to stay all day?

 

It is complicated, I know, all I can offer is to tell you my session times, and staffing rota.

 

open 8:45 - 15:15 ( staff start at 8:15 and finish at 15:45 = 7hrs )

 

children-am session 8:45 - 11:45 ( or can stay LC to 12:45 )= 3 or 4 hrs

 

pm session 12:15 - 15:15 ( or can come to LC arrive at 11:15)= 3 or 4 hrs

 

or children attend all day 8:45-15:15

 

we actually sit down to lunch at about 11:45/12 O'clock.

 

Split shifts cover the LC, a member of staff is only eligable for a break after 4 hrs.

 

2 staff work full time, 2 staff part time. The full time staff stagger their breaks and I stagger the start time of the part time staff to cover the middle of the day.

 

 

Hope this helps.

 

Peggy

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As long as the same children do not attend the am and pm session you sre fine with sessional.

We open 9.30 - 12.00 then 12.15 - 2.45 (written down staff get 25 mins on rota for break) reality as we all know is different. :D

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The reason I asked Pandamonium is because when we were doing afternoons we only had a break between children of 5 minutes-staff who worked both morning and afternoon had a 35 minute break. Although it is not written anywhere how long the gap between the two sessions has to be our inspector was concerned that 5 minutes was not long enough to take into account late collections. She recommended at least a 15 minute break.

The differences between full day care and sessional are minimal but you would have to re register. Even if you are not going to take children all day long it still means that you are getting into full day care. It's a route we are probably going to take eventually.

Linda

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We are offer a lunch club session on Wednesday and Thursday - children attend for 4 hours and are therefore a sessional playgroup not opening for more than 4 hours - but staff work 4 and a half hours without a break although we do sit down for lunch with the children. Are we legally entitled to a fifteen minute break? My contract states that I should have a 15 minute break but when? We have four members of staff up until lunchtime and then one goes home - I never have enough time to complete my paperwork let alone have time to fit a 15 mimute break . Legally are the staff who work over four hours enetitled to a break?

 

Sue

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Hi Sue,

I thought it was after 4 hrs but checked on the DTI site ( see link) and it appears staff are entitled to a 20 min break after 6 hrs of work.

 

 

http://www.dti.gov.uk/er/work_time_regs/wtr6.htm

 

Peggy.

 

p.s. I would think 6 hrs at a computor screen wouldn't be acceptable without a break under H&S, and I definately think that working with 28 under 5's we all need a break after even half an hour :D ( for at least an hour :D:D )

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I recently registered for day-care. I open between the hours of 9 and 2.30.

Different children do a variety of combinations. i.e. some stay all day others go home at end of session at 11.30, whilst others stay for lunch and go home at 12.00. Some of the afternoon children come in for lunch whilst others come in at 12.00. As long as I have no more than 26 children at any time Ofsted were happy that I meet the needs of each child. Staff come in at 8.30. and leave at 2.30.ish. We sit down and eat with the children at lunch time.

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We (EY and Primary) start at 8:15 AM. We come to the Staff Room to share and also be available to any parent who needs us. The children go outside until 8:30 under the supervision of a teacher.

 

Our 1st break is from 10 - 10:15 AM, if we are not in duty. Then we eat our lunch from 11:30 - 12 while the children do so as well, all together in the Lunch Room. We have 'prefects' who take care for the 1st 15 minutes. Then we just 'keep an eye'. From 12 - 12:30 is the next break, unless one is in duty outside or washing dishes (once a week). Our final break is from 2 - 2:15 PM before the children leave at 3:30 PM.

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Thanks for replies ladies (how sexist of me, sorry!). Peggy, yours sounds most like what we will be doing I guess.

We are very short of money and low on kids so we just can't afford extra staff over the ratio we need. Ideally we would have 3 adn last year we had some funding for a 1-1 which really helped. Although obviously they were only really there for one child it was an extra body!

 

I just can't get my head round it! Are you committee run groups? One problem we have is that our committee sometimes don't think thru implications of decisions hence they have decided to offer afternoon lunch club and even tho staff raised the legal break issue months ago it is only now being discussed! Nobody's fault just lack of communication and I'm still learning the supervisor role myself!

 

Can I just ask you Peggy - how does it work in practice to have children coming and going over the lunch club time?

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In my setting we use two tables for lunch, one being the snack bar table, the other the art table ( cleared of course). These are situated by our entrance door. The morning only children have mostly all gone when we sit down to lunch, any that arrive during lunch ( 12:15 starters) settle to play quietly with a member of staff. Then after lunch the am+ lunch children leave.

After they have left we start the pm session with circle time.

Not many parents choose the 12:15 start, quite a few choose the 11:15 ( lunch + pm) session and these children just fit in with the session from arrival. We tend to repeat the morning routine in the afternoon so if a child arrives at 11:15 they will get a story time in the pm if they have missed the am story.

 

It does all sound so complicated when written down, doesn't it. I am the owner, but have previously worked with a committee and understand where your coming from. As long as regulations are covered really it is a case of trial and error when making changes. Maybe one of your committee would like to cover over the lunch time, maybe offer their child a free lunch in return.

 

 

Peggy

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I'm not sure how that would work for us. Do you have a member of staff meeting and greeting/saying goodbye at the door? Or do parents just walk in? Sorry, I just want a clear idea in my head so I can at least appear professional when I meet with the committee!

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We have doorbell and intercom, staff go to the door to let parents/ children in and to let them out again.

The time of arrival and departure is marked on the register each time a person/child enters or leaves.

We are in a scout hall and parents/children enter straight into the "play area". We use a table as "reception desk". The children sit and eat lunch very near to the entrance so there is no problem of a member of staff having to leave the room to let people in or out.

 

Hope this helps. How is your set-up?

 

Peggy

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We are moving premises so we just don't know what will happen yet!

I need to put it all down on paper I think to thrash it out properly! Summer holidays! HA!

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Sounds like a plan... would skip the sunbathing as a delicate English rose... (ha ha not really I just burn easily!)

 

Makes me laugh when people say oh you work school time... lucky you all that time off!

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