Help! My dim sim-eating employee is now taking two-hour-long lunch breaks

Help! My dim sim-eating employee is now taking two-hour-long lunch breaks

Dear Aunty B,

I wrote to you a few months ago about one of my employees who had a strange habit of eating his lunch – usually dim sims or a burger – at the front counter of the newsagency my partner and I had recently bought.

I took your advice and had a general catch-up with the team. I outlined the things I wanted to change about the shop and since then, all employees have gotten used to eating their lunch in the tea room at the back of the shop.

Well nearly all of them. The employee I had an issue with in October now prefers to leave the shop on his lunch break but I’ve noticed his lunch breaks seem to be getting longer and longer. Last week it was two hours before he came back to the shop and when I questioned him, he said he lost track of time.

My rosters are carefully planned and I can’t afford for individual staff members to be missing for an extra hour each day. What should I do about this worker?




Dear Donna,

I’m so pleased to hear your customers no longer have to witness this employee chowing down on a dim sim at the counter!

But it seems you have to get serious about managing the performance of this individual worker. It sounds like they are the type of person who likes to push the boundaries any way they can and they probably got away with slacking off under the previous owner.

The first step is to understand your obligations as an employer in reference to their employment status. It will be different depending on if they are a casual employee or full-time. You’ll also need to consider how long they have been employed by the business and if they have had any previous warnings about their conduct.

Schedule a meeting with this worker and raise your concerns about their lunch-taking habits. Make sure you have a record of this meeting and give them a proper chance to respond to your concerns. Hopefully one meeting will be enough for them to realise you are serious and they will stick to their allocated lunch break. If not, you’ll need to consider a formal written warning about the misconduct and inform them of the consequences of not following your instructions.

Be Smart,

Aunty B


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments