Rest break rights: don’t break the law in your salon

Rest break rights: don’t break the law in your salon

“Sometimes rest is the most productive thing you can do for body and soul.”

– Erica Layne

Everyone needs a bit of a break during the working day, but did you know that salon employers must comply with rest break law when it comes to their employees?

Don’t be caught out. Make sure you understand rest break law so you can apply the rules properly in your salon.

Put rest break entitlement in writing

Check all your employment contracts to ensure they clearly set out the rest breaks your employees are entitled to. Make sure this is in line with current law.

Remember: the law is different for adults and under-18s.

What does the law say?

Your adult salon employees have the right to:

  • One uninterrupted 20-minute rest break during the working day if they work more than six hours a day (see more on this below).
  • Eleven hours rest between working days.
  • An uninterrupted 24 hours without work each week or an uninterrupted 48 hours without work each fortnight.

Salon Freelancers

The law relating to rest breaks will not apply to chair, space or room renters as they are self-employed and running their own business.

20-minute rest breaks for adult employees

There are a few things to bear in mind when it comes to 20-minute rest breaks for adult team members:

  • Rest breaks can be for tea or lunch but must be taken somewhere in the middle of the day, not at the start or end of the working day.
  • If the rest break is interrupted by having to go back to work, it does not count as the 20-minute rest break required by law.
  • Your employees can spend their rest break away from their workstation.

Top tip

Unless your employee’s contract says so, there is no legal right to:

- Take a smoking break.

- Get paid for 20-minute rest breaks

Rest break law for young salon employees

Young workers who are above school leaving age and under 18 must not work more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. They are usually entitled to:

  • A 30-minute rest break, if they work more than 4.5 hours.
  • 12 hours rest each day between work.
  • 48 hours rest each week.

Employing under-16s in your salon

Be extra careful when employing anyone under 16 as a number of extra laws and local by-laws apply to child workers, including:

  • A maximum of 12 hours work a week during term time.
  • A maximum of four hours work before taking a one-hour break.
  • A two-week break during the school holidays each calendar year.

Always check all the national and local employment laws before taking on anyone under the age of 16.

Top tip

When employing under-18s:

  • You must see a copy of their birth certificate (or other evidence of their age) before taking them on
  • You must get written permission from a parent or guardian if taking on someone under 16
  • You must keep records for under-18s including their starting and finishing times for work.

Rest breaks in Irish salon businesses

Adult salon workers in Ireland are entitled to the following rest breaks:

  • 15 minutes after working 4.5 hours.
  • 30 minutes when working more than six hours (this can include the first 15-minute break).
  • 11 consecutive hours in any 24-hour period.
  • 24 consecutive hours in any seven-day period (normally following on from one of the 11-hour rest periods or two 24-hour rest periods in a week if the 24-hour break was missed the previous week.

Employees are not entitled to be paid during rest breaks unless this is stated in their contract.

Top tip

The law sets out the minimum requirements but you can offer more frequent rest breaks or for longer periods if you wish.

However, you must treat everyone equally. For example, team members who don’t smoke must be treated the same as those who take smoking breaks.

Good Salon Guide Members: Don’t forget, you get free access to information and advice from our industry experts about all aspects of running a successful salon business.


All of the information we provide has been taken from public and government websites such as, Labour Relations Commission (, ACAS ( and Business Link where you will find  more detailed information.

Every situation is different, so while we can offer general recommendations and assistance in many areas, it is often best to seek professional advice on individual cases as following the correct procedure is all important