30 minute break clarification

30 minute break clarification
Centre Based Services only
M ay 20 12
Staffing arrangements:
The Education and Care Services National Regulations
(the Regulations) require the educator to child
ratio to be maintained at all times. For further
information regarding centre based ratio
requirements see regulations 121, 122 and 123.
The Regulations also require that to be counted in
the ratios an educator must be working directly
with children. For the purposes of the Regulations
educators are considered to be working directly
with children at any given time if at that time the
educator is
 Physically present; and
 Is directly engaged in providing education
and care to the children.
It is recognised that maintaining the ratios at all
times, is a difficult requirement to meet. Back
filling for short breaks can be problematic
particularly when considering the ongoing need for
ancillary tasks such as attending to laundry duties,
food or bottle preparation, and all incidental
cleaning needs.
Regulatory Authorities throughout Australia have
agreed that each individual educator in a centre
based service will be allowed to take up to 30
minutes each day for the purposes of attending to
ancillary tasks, personal hygiene arrangements and
any other essential personal needs such as
personal phone calls. The centre based service
will not be considered in contravention of the
prescribed ratio requirements.
At all times the overarching consideration must be
meeting the needs of the children. It is essential
 adequately supervise children; and
protect children from harm and hazards;
D e p art me n t of E d uc at ion
E d uc at ion and Care Un it
deliver an educational program to all children
being educated and care for by the service.
What is the intention of the 30 minute break
The agreement for an individual educator to take up to
30 minutes each day is intended to allow for the
continuous operations of a service in a manner that does
not compromise the health, safety or well-being of
children, while still allowing the service to be considered
as meeting the requirements of the Regulations.
It is not intended that the 30 minute break agreement
results in situations where attending to the needs of
individual needs of the children is compromised. It is
intended that where an educator is using this agreement,
they remain on the premises and can be called upon to
return to working directly with children, if the need
The 30 minute break agreement can be used to allow
educators to attend to any matters that may take them
away from working directly with children. This may
include such things as taking infant bedding to the
laundry for cleaning, taking two 10 minute breaks each
day, attending to personal hygiene needs, taking personal
phone calls, or having private conversations with parents
of children attending the service. If the 30 minute break
agreement is used to allow educators to have a single
break of that length, then attending to any other tasks or
personal needs means the service is in contravention of
the Regulations as it automatically means the educator is
not working directly with the children, thus not meeting
the parameters to be considered in the specified
educator to child ratios.
Educators’ breaks are required to be recorded, in
accordance with regulation 151 (b) which required the
approved provider to keep records of the hours that
educators are working directly with children.