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Getting strict with staff eating


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I'm the manager of a smallish setting (16 staff). We have morning staff (7.45-1.30) afternoon (12.30-6) and full days staff. We have a pre-school and a baby room. Lately staff are spending a lot of time preparing their own food/drink so wanted to tighten up the rules.


I was thinking of introducing something along the lines of :

Morning staff - can eat with children at breakfast 9am

Afternoon staff - can eat with children at tea 4pm

Day staff can eat in their allocated lunch hour. between 12-2


Its pretty hard for the baby room to eat with the children however as they are busy feeding children.

I have briefly discussed ideas with senior staff but I know it will be seen as unpopular as many staff starting at 8 don't have time for breakfast in the morning.Just wanted to know before i bring it up if i am being unreasonable and how strict you guys are!





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I agree wholeheartedly that it is perfectly possible to have had breakfast before starting work at 8.00am. An alarm set ten minutes earlier should facilitate that.

However, whilst I think staff eating alongside the children can be very beneficial, I can also see the issue with eating while feeding several babies.

Has the time they take to prepare their own food increased significantly recently? Are there any other changes you can link to this?


I think I would look a bit more closely to see if there's an underlying cause unrelated to hunger.

  • Are the staff looking for excuses to leave the room? If so, why?
  • Is there any sort of discord that makes some people need a few minutes alone?
  • How is the planning going? Are the staff bored? If they are, the children probably are too.
  • Is there any other reason for them to be feeling a little disillusioned?

Could you put a time limit on them preparing their own food, rather than preventing it altogether? Maybe you could ask them to suggest a sensible one. The ten minutes suggested by louby loo sounds very appropriate to me.

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I would check on government website to find what their legal entitlement for breaks is, then work out their allotted times and they will have to prepare their food in that scheduled break. Everyone is then covered and if you, as an employer, choose to give them more time that shouldn't be taken for granted or abused.

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When I worked in a day nursery we always got a 10 minute break in the morning to have a coffee. We were paid through our 30 minute lunch but were always on call if needed. My staff who do the one full day that we open 8:30 to 3:00 do get 30 minute lunch break away from children but they are paid as they are still on call and I would not expect them to leave the premises.

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