CBA tea breaks win –
Frequently Asked Questions

In early 2022, the FSU launched Federal Court proceedings against CBA on behalf of members in response to widespread and ongoing reports that members in retail branches were not always able to take their tea breaks.

For the past 18 months the FSU’s legal team has been gathering evidence and preparing witnesses for a hearing scheduled for five weeks starting from September this year. While we had a strong legal argument, a win can never be guaranteed, and if we were successful any potential monetary outcome was unlikely to be paid for years to come.

At a recent court mandated mediation meeting, CBA came prepared to settle the dispute with cheque book in hand and we were able to negotiate an outcome for members on this matter that led to millions of dollars going back into the pockets of thousands of CBA workers!

Who will receive payment?

If you were working in a retail branch and employed on an Enterprise Agreement unpackaged contract or Annualised Salary Contract (ASC) on 27 July 2023, you will receive an email from CBA stating that you will receive a one-off payment in relation to rest breaks.

How much will the payment be?

The amount of the payment will be calculated based on the number of years of service and your employment type (e.g. full-time, part-time, casual). The payment period is limited to the last 6 years in line with the statutory limitation for claims.

The maximum amount payable over the 6-year period will be $750 for full-time employees, 65% of $750 to part-time employees, and 25% of $750 for casual employees. The minimum amount payable will be $150 for full-time employees, 65% of $150 for part-time employees and 25% of $150 for casuals. All payments are subject to tax.

When will we receive our payments?

CBA has agreed to make the payments by the end of 2023 and must do so no later than 31 March 2024.

What happens if I am still unable to take my tea break?

As part of the settlement, we have negotiated a mechanism that allows staff to record every time they’ve been unable to take a tea break and receive payment in lieu based on your ordinary rate of pay.

This mechanism will be written into the new Enterprise Agreement.

Staffing is still a concern in my worksite, what can we do?

We know that the inability to take tea breaks is a symptom of a broader issue across the CBA retail network – and that is staffing levels. This settlement does not prevent you and your colleagues from raising a dispute about staffing levels at your worksite.

We will soon provide member communications and briefing sessions relating to staffing and workloads. In the meantime, please contact us on 1300 366 378 for advice and support on how this can be addressed at your worksite.