Skip to content

Paid breaks are a right - not an option at Maccas.

The SDA has lodged a groundbreaking claim in the Federal Court against McDonald’s Australia over the deliberate denial of paid rest breaks.

The SDA is seeking financial compensation for any current and former crew members at company-owned sites who were denied their paid breaks in the past 6 years.

All McDonald’s workers must receive a paid 10 minute break if they work 4 hours or more and two 10 minute paid breaks if they work 9 hours or more.

If you’ve been denied your breaks at any Maccas site, register now so we can pursue compensation for you.

We will get in touch with you about further steps after this.

Did you know? The SDA has also lodged 10 other Federal Court actions over the denial of paid breaks against franchisees in Victoria, NSW, WA and SA.



Your pay. Your rights. Your union at Macca’s.

McDonald’s employees are covered by the Fast Food Industry Award.

The SDA plays a central role in pushing for changes in the Award to maintain decent pay and fair conditions that are relevant to the needs of fast food workers across the country.

The SDA works hard every year in the Fair Work Commission to ensure rates of pay go up and working conditions are protected and improved in the Fast Food Industry Award.


Information about the Fast Food Industry Award

Your rates of pay are set out in the Fast Food Industry Award.

Pay rises are determined by the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review and usually come into effect in July each year.

Each year, the Fair Work Commission considers submissions, including submissions from unions and employer groups, about wage increases for the minimum wage and Award wages.

The SDA through the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) makes a comprehensive submission arguing for wages to go up in the Annual Wage Review every year.

The review takes place in the first half of the year, with a decision being made generally in May or June.

Higher Duties: If you are required to perform work at a higher level then you will be paid at the higher rate. If this is for 2 hours or more on a shift then the higher rate applies for the whole shift.

The SDA keeps you updated about your pay regularly, including any pay rises.

Your breaks were fought for and won by the SDA.

Under the Award, your break entitlements are:

Your Paid Rest Breaks are a Right!

Under the Award, you must be given your paid rest break as one continuous break – and you still have the right to go to the toilet or get a drink when necessary.

If you’ve ever been denied your breaks, take our survey now.

Also, employees cannot work more than 5 hours without a meal break.

It’s important to note your rights about breaks:

  • The timing of and having a break is to provide meaningful rest from work
  • The time for your rest and meal breaks are to be on your roster
  • You cannot be required to take a break within one hour of starting or ceasing work
  • You cannot be required to take a rest break combined with a meal break
  • You cannot work more than five hours without a meal break
  • Breaks help you work effectively, take them when they fall due.

Remember to check your payslip to ensure you have been paid for any relevant paid rest breaks.

Full-time employees:

  • Must receive an average of 38 hours per week

Part-time employees:

  • Must receive less than 38 hours per week but must have reasonably predictable hours of work
  • Have a regular pattern of work and must have agreed to their hours and days of work in writing
  • Any changes to your pattern of work must be made in writing before the change occurs

Casual employees:

  • Must work at least 3 hours per shift

Remember, the SDA can help with any rostering disputes. If you are approached about changing your roster, do not sign anything you do not agree to.

Contact the SDA for advice before signing off on any changes to your roster, that way we can help if do not agree to it.

Part-time workers have important rights and conditions at McDonald’s including:

  • set shifts
  • a guaranteed minimum number of hours each fortnight
  • paid sick and annual leave
  • paid time off on public holidays

If you’re given a new contract or roster, you shouldn’t sign off on it without reading over it and making sure you agree to it. If you have any concerns, you should contact the SDA ASAP.

We strongly discourage any part-time workers from converting to casual work and one of our experienced Case Managers/Organisers/Industrial Officers will be able to explain and discuss these changes with you.

The SDA strongly believes that you deserve fair pay and compensation if you have to give up your weekends, evenings or public holidays to work.

Your penalty rates at McDonald’s are as follows:


Permanent employees will be paid overtime rates if they work:

  • More than 38 hours per week or an average of 38 hours per week averaged over a 4 week period
  • More than 5 days per week or more than 6 days if 4 days worked the next week
  • More than 11 hours on any day
  • Before or after their rostered shift
  • More than their agreed hours (part-time employees only)

Casual employees will be paid overtime rates if they work:

  • More than 38 hours per week or where they have a roster, more than 38 hours per week averaged over the course of the roster cycle
  • More than 11 hours on any day

Thanks to advocacy by the SDA, casual employees must be offered a part-time or full-time position after 12 months of work if they:

  • Have worked a regular pattern of hours for at least the last 6 months on an ongoing basis
  • Could continue to work their hours as a permanent employee without significant changes

Contact your SDA Branch to find out more.

You have a right to a safe workplace and this includes no abuse or violence from customers.

87% of fast food workers we surveyed said they had experienced verbal abuse or aggressive behaviour and 28% said they had experienced physical abuse such as punching, hitting, pushing or threats of physical abuse like death threats.

This should not be the norm for workers at McDonald’s and that’s why the SDA launched a massive campaign to eliminate abuse and violence from customers.

Abuse isn’t part of the job. It is one of the top health and safety issues facing fast food workers but it can be stopped.

Watch our No One Deserves A Serve advertising that calls out customers to respect fast food workers here.

McDonald’s has a legal responsibility to protect you at work. If you are abused by a customer on the job and don’t feel supported or that everything has been done to protect you, please get in touch with us.

With the support of SDA members like you, we can continue to campaign on this issue and make your store safer.

At the end of the day, your safety must come first. It is the SDA’s core business to ensure that your employer provides you with a safe workplace whether that’s through health and safety laws

Bullying and sexual harassment have no place at McDonald’s.

2 in 5 SDA members have experienced or been exposed to workplace sexual harassment in the past 5 years.

Your employer has a responsibility to provide you with a safe work environment in all ways.

The SDA stands with all workers who have experienced bullying or sexual harassment and is here to support you.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your manager, a coworker or a customer – this kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable.

If you’ve experienced or witnessed bullying or harassment at work, report it to the SDA.

We’re committed to handling any complaints confidentially, sympathetically and quickly and will always put your best interests first.

A common issue for SDA members is changing and cancelling shifts at last minute or after you’ve already got to work. We know that casuals often arrive to work only to be told their shift has been cancelled.

If you arrive to work and you haven’t been told your shift has been cancelled – you should be paid for that shift.

The Company cannot refuse to pay you for that shift if they have not contacted you prior to your shift starting.

Just because you’re casual, does not mean you don’t have rights at work. If you need help speaking up about this in your store, get in touch with us.

Remember, part-time employees should have a regular pattern of work and you must have agreed to your hours and days of work in writing.

If you’re full-time you must receive an average of 38 hours per week.

All permanent employees must be consulted about any changes to your roster and any changes must be made in writing before the change occurs. If you don’t agree to the proposed roster changes, don’t sign anything and contact the SDA for help.

Personal Leave:

  • Full-time employees accrue 10 days of paid personal leave each year.
  • Part-time employees are entitled to 10 days personal leave which accrues on a pro-rata basis based on their hours of work.
  • Casual employees can take 48 hours unpaid carers leave if you need to care for someone that is sick or requires care in an emergency.

Paid annual leave: 

Full-time employees accrue 4 weeks per year. Part-time employees accrue annual leave on a pro-rata basis.

Casual employees are not entitled to paid annual leave.

When you take annual leave, a 17.5% annual leave loading or the weekend penalty rates (whichever is higher) will also be paid on it.

You can apply for annual leave in advance and cash out 2 weeks leave per year in some circumstances.

All employees are entitled to 5 days of unpaid leave to deal with the impact of family and domestic violence.


If you are required to wear a uniform or special clothing it should be provided to you or paid for by your employer. If you are required to launder your uniform, you will be paid $6.25 per week for full-timers and $1.25 for part-timers and casuals.