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Length of Teacher Lunch Periods

Clauses 29.05(a) and (c) and 17.05(a) and (c) of the Provincial and Labrador West Collective Agreements, respectively, provide as follows:

(a) Teachers will have an uninterrupted period of at least forty (40) minutes for lunch unless the majority of teachers in a school agree to a lunch period of a shorter duration. Such lunch break is to occur sometime between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. of the school day unless otherwise mutually agreed.

(c) For (a) above, the opening and closing time for school may have to be adjusted by the School Board and that nothing in this Article is to be construed to mean that current lunch periods in excess of forty (40) minutes should be reduced.

In most schools, staff have accepted that, on days when a teacher has supervision duty during lunch, their lunch break will be less than 40 minutes. However, there is nothing in the Agreements that enables the parties to agree to no lunch break for teachers.

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting public health directives and measures for schools may require changes to usual student lunch periods and practices, including staggered timing, limited use of cafeteria spaces, and/or students having to eat in their classrooms. However, if proposed changes to school operations resulting from school district re-entry plans would have the effect of shortening teachers’ lunch period beyond what is already established, this cannot be done without the consent of the majority of teachers on a staff – a vote would have to be conducted, preferably on the administrative day. Given the potential impact on schedules, supervision, bussing, etc. such matters should be dealt with as early as possible in the school year. As well, potential Schedule D and E implications would also have to be considered if the teacher lunch break is shortened (see the section on “Length of the Work/Instructional Day”).

NLTA members seeking advice/assistance on specific matters related to their individual circumstances should contact the Association via