All employees are entitled to take a break during their working day. The main purpose of a break is to allow you to rest and have a bite to eat.
The length of the break varies depending on the length of the working day stated in your employment contract:
15 minutes if you work more than 5 1/2 hours a day
30 minutes if you work more than 7 hours a day
1 hour if you work more than 9 hours a day; in this case you may take more than one break.
Your employer may allow you to take longer breaks.
If you have flexible working hours and your working day varies from less than 7 hours to more than 9 hours, the length of your break is calculated based on the average daily working time stated in your contract.
Your employer may draw up in-house rules on breaks, e.g. defining break times or a break room.
Smokers are not entitled to additional breaks to smoke.
Breaks are not considered working time so they are not remunerated.
There may be exceptions to this:
if you cannot leave your workplace during your break, this counts as working time
interruptions to technical operations (e.g. machine downtime...) cannot count as breaks because they do not really allow you to relax. They are too short, and you cannot know in advance when you will have to resume work.
Breaks are generally scheduled in the middle of your workday. Their purpose is to allow you to rest and eat. You therefore may not skip them, because this could lead to mistakes or accidents.
For this same reason, you may not skip your break in order to finish your day earlier, or start your day later and then skip your break.
The break is for resting during the working day. The daily rest period is the mandatory rest period after a working day:
it must last at least 11 consecutive hours;
it starts when you leave the workplace and ends when you return.
Once a week, your employer has the right to reduce the rest period to 8 hours but only if you have been given an average daily rest period of 11 hours over two weeks.
NB: For employees under 18, the daily rest period must always be at least 12 hours.