There are two meal break periods for shifts of 11 hours 25 minutes or more, but only one for shifts of less than 11 hours and 24 minutes.
Meal allowances are paid for the following reasons:
1) Meal break late (for each break):
AMA - The first allowance is for missing your “meal break” within the 2.5 hours window.
AMAX - The next allowance is paid if you don’t get your break within the following hour of meeting the criteria for AMA to be paid, this happens at 3.5 hours after your meal break should have begun.
AMA/AMAX payments in relation to late breaks is capped at a maximum of $53 (2 payments per shift), even though there are potentially 4 payments a shift to be claimed.
2) Meals away from station where work commenced:
If you have brought your meal to you starting/home station and you can’t retrieve that meal for your meal break you are entitled to compensation – this compensation is ‘uncapped and unaffected by the above claim’. You must seek to retrieve your meal and be denied that opportunity to qualify for compensation. Each compensation payment attracts a payment of $26.50.
So, the maximum you can get on a shift for meal payments isn’t $53 - a common misbelief - it is $106, both things above work independent of each other, they are from different clauses in the award. A payment of allowances doesn’t “buy your break” – you still get one or two meal breaks each shift!
3) Shift extensions - exceeding 2 hours:
AMAHEX is a third type of ‘meal break’ payment, which should be paid when you extend your shift by more than 2 hours; it is a single 30 minute payment of ‘composite pay’ in addition to the OT payment also paid. There is no requirement to stay at work to attract the AMAHEX payment once beyond the 2-hour extension.
If you’d like to talk about this, please contact HACSUassist at firstname.lastname@example.org call 1300 880 032.