Pause is nearly always intentional on the part of the person who is doing the pausing. There may be external factors which necessitate a pause, such as waiting at traffic lights. But even then the decision to move off is with the driver; whether they rev the engine and accelerate when the lights change to amber or to wait for the green light to steadily move on, it is a personal decision.
Teaching music students how to interpret a fermata is quite tricky when they are young (and the symbol is used, in even the most simple pre-Grade 1 pieces). I used to teach piano and pupils would question ‘How long is exactly right’? I would mostly suggest as counting one or two longer than the value of the note written. However over time and particularly if music is studied to a higher level interpreting a fermata becomes more intuitive and the player or performer begins to feel how long is ‘right‘. At the end of the day for either beginner or experienced, the length of pause is at the discretion of the instrumentalist.