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KFC faces class actions over allegedly denying paid breaks

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KFC is facing two separate class actions over allegations it refused to grant thousands of workers their entitled paid breaks.
kfc class action paid break

KFC is facing two separate class actions over allegations it refused to grant thousands of workers their entitled paid breaks.

The class actions are being brought by unions and law firms on behalf of Australians who work or have worked at the fast-food chain since 2017.

KFC employs more than 40,000 people in Australia. It said it’s taking the allegations “very seriously”.

Rest breaks

KFC employees are entitled to a 10-minute paid rest break for four hours of continuous work. After five hours, they are owed a paid rest break and a longer meal break.

These rights are set out in KFC’s National Enterprise Agreement and have been approved by the Fair Work Commission.

A breach of the agreement could result in legal action and fines for the employer.

Class actions

A class action is a type of lawsuit where many people are represented by one entity.

In October, Shine Lawyers launched an investigation into KFC and its franchisees (third-party owners of a KFC restaurant). This month, Gordon Legal brought a class action against KFC in the Federal Court.

Both class actions allege KFC breached its enterprise agreement
by not giving eligible employees paid breaks.

Workers

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) is representing KFC workers in the Gordon Legal class action. It estimates the lawsuit could recover tens of millions of dollars in unpaid wages for thousands of workers.

The Retail and Fast Food Workers Union is part of the separate Shine Lawyers investigation. Shine said 90% of affected workers are likely to be under 24.

Vicky Antzoulatos from Shine Lawyers said: “Many of these workers were just kids facing tough working conditions, who would not have had the confidence or knowledge to speak up and demand the breaks they were owed.”

Both law firms said the action against KFC is open to eligible employees who worked at KFC between October 2017 and now.

KFC response

A KFC spokesperson told TDA the company takes all its obligations to its workers “very seriously”, including allowing employees “the paid rest breaks they are entitled to.”

The spokesperson said KFC will respond to the claims made by Gordon Legal in the Federal Court “in due course”.

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