Eat stops paying staff on lunch breaks 'because of the national living wage'

Eat said the increase in salary made up for the change

Hazel Sheffield
Tuesday 12 April 2016 17:47
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An Eat spokesperson said that 95 per cent of our employees enjoy a pay rate higher than the £7.20 living wage
An Eat spokesperson said that 95 per cent of our employees enjoy a pay rate higher than the £7.20 living wage

Eat has reportedly stopped paying staff during lunch breaks after the introduction of the national living wage.

Employees are legally required to have a break if they work for more than five hours. But since the national living wage of £7.20 an hour was introduced at the beginning of April, Eat has stopped paying staff during that break, saving the company £3.60 per employee on a shift of five hours or more.

The changes at Eat come after Caffe Nero said it would no longer provide staff with a free lunch while on shift.

Eat confirmed to Buzzfeed that it had stopped paying staff on a break, but said the increase in salary made up for the change.

An Eat spokesperson said that 95 per cent of employees enjoy a pay rate higher than the £7.20 living wage.

“The average hourly rate in Eat is now £7.60 per hour, some margin above the living wage rate set by the government," the spokesperson said.

Eat has also said it will pay staff aged 21-24 the new national living wage of £7.20 an hour even though the legal minimum is still £6.70.

“In addition, all of our employees also get a free lunch every day that they work, as much free tea and coffee as they want and the opportunity to earn more through bonuses and incentives," the spokesperson said.

The Independent has contacted Eat for comment.

The financial impact of the national living wage forced Caffe Nero to change its policy of giving staff a free lunch.

A spokesperson said that Caffe Nero was spending "four times" the legal requirement on wage increases after raising pay for under-25s as well.

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