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Coffee breaks


Guest candidoodi
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Guest candidoodi

I've worked at my setting for over four years and other staff around seven or so. Throughout this time we have not had breaks during the day but sat with the children at lunch and had a quick slurp of tea in the kitchen when children have snack if possible. Our chair person has now introduced 20 min unpaid lunch breaks and has got unqualified parent/volunteer to cover. This leaves one qualified and one unqualified with the children in the main room and the other member of staff in the other room, not allowed to do any work. However the staff member on break would not be able to leave site as then we would be out of ratio so technically we have to stay on site. So should we not be paid?

Also as I'm sure a lot of you know this time could be spent doing learning journeys on site rather than in our own time?

Advice very much appreciated.

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How any hours do you work in total?

If you google 'working time directives" you should find clear guidance.

 

I can't think clearly this evening sorry. We get paid 20mins- but can't really leaving the building anyway other than to go for walk around the park!! Takes 10 mins to walk into town :) :) x

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You should have a minimum of 20 mins break if you work six hours or more.

My full time staff (over six hours) have one hour lunch break. They can leave the setting or stay, its up to them. They are not counted in ratio. This break is unpaid. I would have thought that if there is a restriction on what you do with your break and you are counted in ratio, then you should be paid for that twenty minutes but I don't know what the law says on this.

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I introduced breaks for those staff who do a double session as law states , they are done on a rota , some may pop to shop but usually use kitchen and then rejoin children to finish off lunch , we pay this as feel it's petty not too and they deserve it , only a little breather after all

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Guest candidoodi

We work 6hrs 45 mins. One staff member said that she had not had a lunch breaks in the seven years that she had been working so why start now when she is leaving in 2 weeks and asked if she didn't take the break would she be paid. To which the chair person said no I'd still dock your wage. When I asked I was told the chair didn't get paid when she did supply at school so why should we. I understand she's trying to meet regulations but sometimes they can't always be met I also feel we are being walked over.

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This seems to be new working conditions in which case the chair needs to put this to you all officially and after having a minuted meeting with the rest of the committee showing why they think it should go ahead.

Then they need to ask staff to consider it, the staff member who doesnt want to change cant be penalised over it.

If I were you I'd speak to ACAS, very helpful people who'll be able to give you the right pointers. Some Chairs, however good, can get a bit power struck!

Edited by Rea
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working conditions cannot be changed without staff consultation and a period informing you of the changes..they can make them but there has to be a period of notice.. cannot remember how much though.. think it was 3 months when it happened to hubby at work and we last looked into it.

legally doing those hours you should be getting a break.. but can see why you all feel it unnecessary -

if it is unpaid I would want to be able to do as I wish during my time and would argue that I want to leave the building for that time . Could also argue that as it is your own time you can choose to do LJs if you wish as it is your choice and would be doing them in your own time as usual.

Suppose another other way is when you do LJs in own time , document all those hours asking for overtime to cover it.. stating that by doing all in own time you are actually working for a lower wage when you add all the hours unpaid into the hours paid . Not sure that is clearly put but it can mean that if on low wage the actual hours worked end up under the minimum wage.

We too worked over the 6 hours with set up and put away time added to the day, and we had a break of 20 mins but staff were paid and could leave the building if they wished. we felt wages were low enough as it was and 20 mins paid break was a goodwill gesture to try to cover all they did in own time and as extras for the setting. No one was told they had to leave though and if they chose to sit with the children for lunch then that was ok.. but our ratio was always correct if they did decide to leave..

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If our staff do all day, 8.45 or 9 until 3.30, they have always got a half an hour unpaid lunch break where they can go where they like for. If you are being made to stay on site, then you should be being paid I would have thought as legally they need you there.

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Seems to me, if i've read this correctly, that the two of of you are qualified and one of you will be on lunch break, but can't leave the premises because you would be out of ratio as you have an unqualified volunteer. So you are still in effect employed for that time, even if you are having a drink next door. Your committee can't insist staff stay on the premises in their own time either.

I'm not sure what sort of supply your Chair does in school, but I doubt that it is likely to be a fair comparison as she will get a proper break.

I hope this gets solved amicably as it sounds as if the Chair is trying to be helpful but has rather missed the point,

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I think the chair needs to have a rethink of that. If you are working 6 hours 45 mins you are entitled to a paid break although we don't we always have a cuppa on the go and eat lunch with the children. If your not getting paid you are not working and therefore not in ratio, unless you offered to do this voluntary!

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But

Why wouldn't you be able to leave? If it is 2 people ratio wise then only 1 of those needs to be qualified (half) so shouldn't make a difference? Unless I am misunderstanding!

Doesnt the person in charge need to be qualified then at least half of the remaining staff need to be qualified ? Therefore if only 2 members of staff

, then both need to be qualified ?

If you are unable to leave and do as you wish in your unpaid break- then you are not really having an unpaid break and should be paid!

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I'm not sure, I know when I checked before if there was only 2 people then 1 didn't need to be qualified? (Obviously this would never be ideal) Although I don't know if this has changed as it doesn't make it clear as like you say half of one isn't possible so maybe they do indeed need to be qualified?

If you are needed in the ratios then I agree you should be paid! Maybe clarify with Ofsted the staffing with qualified/ unqualified?

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