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Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (Act No. 75 of 1997)

Sectoral Determinations

Sectoral Determination 9 : Wholesale and Retail Sector, South Africa

Part D : Hours of Work

16. Meal intervals


(1) An employer must give an employee who works continuously for more than five hours a meal interval of at least one continuous hour.


(2) During a meal interval, an employee may be required or permitted to perform only duties that cannot be left unattended and cannot be performed by another employee.


(3) An employee must be paid—
(a) for a meal interval in which the employee is required to be available for work;
(b) for any portion of a meal interval that is in excess of 75 minutes.


(4) For the purpose of sub-clause (1), work is continuous unless it is interrupted by a meal interval in accordance with this clause.


(5) A written agreement may—
(a) reduce the meal interval to not less than 30 minutes;
(b) dispense with a meal interval for an employee who works fewer than six hours on a day.


(6) Whenever an employer is required to give an employee a second meal interval because of overtime worked, that interval may by agreement be reduced to not less than 15 minutes.


(7) An employer must grant to each of his or her employees a rest interval of not less than 15 minutes as nearly as practicable in the middle of each first work period and second work period of the day, and during such interval such employee shall not be required or permitted to perform any work, and such interval shall be deemed to be part of the ordinary hours of work of such employee. A written agreement may extend the morning rest interval to not more than half an hour.