Hours of work

Ordinary hours are an employee's normal and regular hours of work, which do not attract overtime rates.

Understanding ordinary hours

Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements set out any:

  • maximum ordinary hours in a day, week, fortnight or month,
  • minimum ordinary hours in a day,
  • times of the day ordinary hours can be worked (for example, between 7am - 7pm).

The ordinary hours can be different for full-time, part-time and casual employees.

Spread of hours

The time of the day ordinary hours are worked is called the spread of hours (for example, between 7am - 7pm). Time worked outside the spread of ordinary hours can attract overtime rates.

Find more information about maximum and minimum hours of work and the spread of hours in your award by selecting from the list below.

Clerks Award

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Clerks - Private Sector Award [MA000002].

Maximum number of hours

The maximum number of ordinary hours employees can work is:

  • 10 hours per day
  • 38 hours per week.

Averaging weekly hours

An employer can average the employee’s hours over more than a week.

This means the employee may work more than 38 hours one week, but less in another.

Options for averaging weekly hours

The table below shows the options for averaging 38 hours per week.

Hours worked Averaged over…
76 hours 2 weeks in a row
114 hours 3 weeks in a row
152 hours 4 weeks in a row

Example:

Cindy works full-time and averages her 38 hours a week by working 152 hours over 4 weeks.

She works 42 hours the first week and second week, and 34 hours the third and fourth week. 42 + 42 + 34 + 34 = 152 hours.

This means that over 4 weeks she has worked an average of 38 hours per week.

Spread of hours

The ordinary hours in the Clerks Award can be worked during the following times:

Monday - Friday Saturday
7am – 7pm 7am – 12.30pm

When the majority of employees are covered by an award that is not the Clerks Award, the spread of hours from that award will apply to the clerical staff as well.

Changing the spread of hours

Employers and employees can make an agreement to change the ordinary spread of hours under the Clerks Award in a few different ways. This includes when an employer makes an agreement with:

  • an individual employee
  • the majority of employees in a discrete section of the workplace, or
  • the majority of employees in the workplace.

The parties can agree to change the spread of hours by shifting them back or forward by up to an hour.

For example, 6am to 6pm Monday to Friday or 8am to 1.30pm Saturday.

Minimum hours

Each time a part-time or casual employee works, they have to be given at least 3 hours of work in a row.

If they aren't given these hours, they still have to be paid a minimum of 3 hours.

The minimum daily hours for a full-time employee will depend on their rostered hours.

Check the Clerks Award for different minimum daily hours on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.

To find out more about who this award applies to, go to the Clerks Award summary.

Source reference: Clerks - Private Sector Award [MA000002] clauses 13.1-13.7, 10.5 and 11.4 external-icon.png

You do not have javascript enabled. Please select your preferred industry from the links below, to view your tailored content for this section.

Maximum weekly hours

An employee can work a maximum of 38 hours in a week unless an employer asks them to work reasonable extra hours. See our Maximum weekly hours fact sheet.

Source reference: Fair Work Act 2009 s.62 external-icon.png

Tools and resources

Related information

Help for small business

Think a mistake might have been made?

Mistakes can happen. The best way to fix them usually starts with talking.

Check out our Fixing a workplace problem section for practical advice on:

  • figuring out if a mistake has been made
  • talking to your employer or employee about fixing it
  • getting help from us if you can't resolve it.

Want to save this information for later?

If you might need to read this information again, save it for later so you can access it quickly and easily.

Page reference No: 2146