Overtime is payable to your employees when they work more than the ordinary hours of work or outside of the ordinary spread of hours. The ordinary spread of hours under the Clerks Award is explained in detail in the Hours of work section.

You can require your clerical employees to work reasonable overtime as long as they are paid overtime rates. An employee can refuse to work overtime if the request is unreasonable, for example where there are risks to their health and safety, or because of personal circumstances including family responsibilities.

Payment for working overtime

When your employees (except for shiftworkers) work overtime, they are entitled to be paid time and a half for the first 2 hours, and double time thereafter.

Overtime rates are calculated on a daily basis. This means that each day is treated independently when applying the overtime rates. For example, if an employee works 2 hours of overtime on Monday and 2 hours of overtime on Tuesday, the overtime each day is paid at time and a half.


Artie is a full-time clerical assistant at JB's Accounting Service Pty Ltd and usually works 38 hours between Monday and Friday. After the end of the financial year, the business is very busy and Artie is asked to work some overtime during the extended opening hours.

Artie agrees to work 3 hours of overtime on Tuesday and Wednesday and 2 hours of overtime on
Thursday. Under the Clerks Award, Artie's overtime rates are calculated as follows:

  • Tuesday - time and a half for the first 2 hours and double time for the last hour
  • Wednesday - time and a half for the first 2 hours and double time for the last hour
  • Thursday - time and a half for the 2 hours of overtime worked

The minimum amount of overtime you can pay an employee during a week is half an hour. For example, if your employee works 15 minutes of overtime per week, they must be paid for 30 minutes at the appropriate overtime rate of pay.

Your clerical employees may be entitled to a meal allowance when they work overtime. See the Allowances section for more information about allowances.

Note: When you require your clerical employees, who normally work 38 hours Monday to Friday, to work overtime on a Saturday, they must be paid a minimum of 3 hours at overtime rates.

If your business employs shiftworkers, they will have different overtime entitlements. See clause 28 of the Clerks Award for more details.

Part-time employees

For part-time employees, overtime is payable for all hours worked in excess of their agreed number of hours. See How do I hire a part-time employee? for more information.

Casual employees

Under the Clerks Award, your casual employees are entitled to overtime rates when they work overtime. The overtime rates of pay are calculated in addition to the hourly casual loading, with both rates calculated on the base hourly rate of pay (the hourly rate payable to your part-time and full-time employees).


Casual overtime hourly rate = base hourly rate + (base hourly rate X casual loading) + (base hourly rate X overtime rate).

If the base hourly rate is $19.07, the casual hourly loading is 25% and the overtime rate is time and a half (50%) then:

Overtime hourly rate  = $19.07 + ($19.07 X 25%) + ($19.07 X 50%)
   = $19.07 + $4.77 + $9.54
   = $33.38

Can employees take time off instead of being paid for overtime?

With your consent, your employees can choose to take paid time off instead of being paid for overtime. The time off needs to be taken within 4 weeks of the overtime being worked, at a time agreed with you.

If your employee does not take the time off work within 4 weeks of working the overtime and they request payment instead, you must pay them at the appropriate overtime rates.

Make-up time

The Clerks Award provides the option for employees to work ‘make-up’ time with your consent. Make-up time is when an employee takes time off during ordinary hours, and works those hours at a later time during the ordinary spread of hours provided in the Clerks Award.


Nantira is a part-time receptionist who works Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday every week from 10.00am until 2.00pm. One Thursday, she receives an unexpected phone call from her friend inviting her to an exclusive movie premier, screening early that afternoon. With her boss’s consent, Nantira leaves work at 1.00pm to attend the movie. As agreed, she then starts work the following Tuesday at 9.00am to make up the time that she was absent.

Call back

The Clerks Award requires that employees who are called back to work after their usual finishing time be paid at overtime rates for a minimum of 3 hours work.


Rubin works full-time as a book keeper for an engineering business in Newcastle. On the final day of the pay week, Rubin sets up the business management software to make automatic payments to all of the employees over night, and finishes work at the usual time of 5.30pm. At 6.30pm, Todd, the operations manager, calls Rubin to tell him that the business management software has crashed and that he needs to come back into work to manually process all of the pays.
Rubin returns to work at 7.00pm and finishes at 9.00pm.

As Rubin was called back to work, he is entitled to payment at the overtime rates of pay for 3 hours, even though he only worked 2 hours of overtime.

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Page last updated: 14 Oct 2013