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Meal Break FAQs

Meal Break Frequently Asked Questions.

Before you contact the AEAWA please see if the below FAQ’s can assist you.


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When can my Meal Break be allocated?

As of 1st January 2024, the meal break window is now the middle 4 hours of your shift. Penalty for a broken or missed meal break is now $18.50. A crew can choose to use their meal break to (for instance) return to their depot.
Meal Break Times
07:00-18:00 – Meal Break allocation 10:30-14:30
06:00-18:00 – Meal Break allocation 10:00-14:00
06:30-18:30 – Meal Break allocation 10:30-14:30
07:00-19:00 – Meal Break allocation 11:00-15:00
09:00-21:00 – Meal Break allocation 13:00-17:00
10:00-22:00 – Meal Break allocation 14:00-18:00
12:00-00.00 – Meal Break allocation 16:00-20:00

18:00-07:00 – Meal Break allocation 10:30-02:30
19:00-08:00 – Meal Break allocation 23:30-03:30

Can I be given a Meal Break whilst driving?

As per SOPO 1043
“Crews that depart their location once given a meal break can do so in their own meal allocation time…Crew to advise SOC if they will be moving locations at commencement of meal break and it must be authorised by SOC”.

A crew cannot be put on a meal break while in transit, however if you are (unilaterally) in transit before clearing (82) hospital, you can still be placed on a meal break as SOC will assume you will clear before leaving the ED. If you are advised that your meal break has started (and you have acknowledged the meal break) then it is considered broken even if you are allocated a call moments later.

Meal breaks can currently be broken for the following reasons:

  • To attend a Priority 0/ Priority 1 case
  • If there is a patient safety concern identified due to excessive wait time and resource availability
  • Subject to urgent operational requirements as determined by the Duty Manager State Operations Centre; As required in the Resource Escalation Actions Plan (REAP).

Can SJA interrupt our Meal Break for P2s due to operational demand?

Currently the wording of the clause 24, Meal Breaks states that “operational requirements may impact on the availability of a meal break”.
This is less than ideal but the negotiations surrounding meal breaks at the last EBA were complicated to say the least. Please rest assured the AEAWA will be looking to strengthen the rules surrounding meal breaks at the forthcoming EBA.

I have another question not covered here!

Please contact an AEAWA delegate for more information, or email [email protected]

If you would like to see positive changes for your workplace then be a part of the AEAWA Committee.

Email your interest to the AEAWA