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Girl who wanted tea break will have plenty of time to eat when fired

John Key told media this morning that application of the new law was “certainly not the intention” of the law.

John Key told media this morning that application of the new law was “certainly not the intention” of the law.

A 20-year-old girl who has threatened not to obey retail store Cotton On’s proposed new “no tea breaks” policy won’t have to worry about having time to eat, says the company, as she’ll soon be fired.

Nellie Summers, who has worked at the retail chain store for the unusually long period of more than 4 months, told media this week that, if Cotton On go ahead with abolishing tea breaks for their workers, she’ll be taking them anyway.

In a statement released to media today, the company said it “sympathised” with Summers’ concerns, and would be doing what it could to ensure she remained “well nourished.”

“We’re getting a lot of feedback from stores around the country, from employees like Nellie,” read the statement. “What they’re telling us is that they need to eat, and drink, in order to convert nutrients into energy, and live.

“That’s an interesting concept, and one that we’d like to show we fully understand. Which is why, if Cotton On employees like Nellie choose to have their tea breaks, we certainly aren’t going to stop them. In fact, we intend to extend those tea breaks to 24 hours a day, every day, every week, for the rest of their lives. Without pay.”

The changes being considered by Cotton On are only possible due to a law passed by the National Government late last year, which stripped the requirement for businesses to offer their employees meal and drink breaks.

At the time, Prime Minister John Key assured New Zealanders that it “wouldn’t change anything, really.”

“Post the passing of this law, will you all of a sudden find thousands of workers who are denied having a tea break?” he said. “The answer is absolutely not.”

But today Key said that Cotton On was a “company” and that “sometimes companies make choices,” which could have “positive or negative consequences, depending on the choice.”

He said companies were not supposed to actually use the law his government passed.

“It’s just supposed to be there,” he said.

A new law being drafted by the Government that would strip a workers’ right to use the bathroom, was also not meant to be used, he said.