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New workplace laws come into effect on July 1st 2009. This site will be updated shortly to reflect the new Fair Work laws.

The standard working week in Australia is 38 hours per week (7.6 hours per day), usually worked Monday to Friday. Work beyond that amount is overtime and attracts a premium (see Overtime). 

In many workplaces, work is arranged over a four week, twenty work day cycle of 8 hours per day, with the accumulated 0.4 hours per day being taken on the twentieth day as an Accumulated or Rostered Day Off. 


 

OVERTIME
All time worked beyond 38 hours per week is overtime. In most cases it attracts a premium of 1.5 times the ordinary rate of pay for the first three hours (2 hours in some industries) and double time thereafter. Most awards require that employees be available to work "reasonable overtime" if the employer wishes. 

In mid-2002 the Australian Industrial Relations Commission introduced a right for an employee to refuse to do overtime that would "result in the employee working unreasonable hours". 
Each case would have to be decided individually, taking into account 

  • "any risk to employee health and safety"
  • "the employee's personal circumstances including any family responsibilities"
  • "the needs of the workplace or enterprise"
  • "the notice (if any) given by the employer of the overtime and by the employee of his or her intention to refuse it".


Victorian Minimum Wage Orders do not set any higher pay rate for work beyond beyond 38 hours per week. 


 

WEEKEND WORK
In many industries work on Saturday or Sunday will attract a premium on the ordinary hourly rate. Sunday work is usually paid at double the ordinary rate. However some workplace agreements have averaged out the weekday/weekend difference in rates.

In some industries when working on the weekend the employee is entitled to extra paid work breaks. 

Victorian Minimum Wage Orders are silent regarding weekend work, ie the same rates apply. 


 

MEAL AND REST BREAKS
In almost all cases an employee cannot be required to work for more than five hours without an interval of at least half an hour for a meal. Many awards also provide for additional breaks during work, eg morning tea or during overtime. 


 

SHIFT WORK
Where work is done in the evening or overnight, a premium is usually added to the ordinary hourly pay rate. The following table sets out some common provisions:

SHIFTS TIMES PAY PREMIUM
Afternoon shift Finishes at or after 9pm and at or before 11pm Monday - Friday 1.5
Night shift Finishes after 11pm and at or before 7am Monday - Friday 1.5
Early morning shift Finishes after 12.30pm and at or before 2pm Monday - Friday 1.25
Early afternoon shift Finishes after 7.30pm and at or before 9pm Monday - Friday 1.25


 

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