Hours of work

JobKeeper changes to the Fair Work Act

The JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme helps qualifying employers significantly affected by coronavirus to keep paying their employees. To support the JobKeeper scheme in Australian workplaces, temporary JobKeeper provisions have been added to the Fair Work Act.

Under the Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions, employers can give directions (called ‘JobKeeper enabling directions’) and make agreements with their employees to help manage their business in certain circumstances. Find out more at JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

For information about directing employees in the JobKeeper scheme to return to the workplace or perform work, go to Directions to return to work and the workplace.

Due to the impacts coronavirus is having on the community, a number of unions and employer associations are applying to the Fair Work Commission to increase award flexibility.

This may affect the entitlements on this page.

For a list of determinations and to see if your award is affected go to Temporary changes to workplace laws during coronavirus.

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

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 (eg. 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 (eg. 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

Temporary Clerks Award flexibility

On 28 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission varied the Clerks Award by adding a new Schedule I. It was initially due to stop operating on 30 June 2020.

On 30 June 2020 they extended and changed parts of Schedule I. The extended sections and new changes apply until 30 September 2020.

Schedule I adds award flexibility to the Clerks Award during the impact of coronavirus. It changes entitlements relating to:

  • span of hours while working at home
  • hours of work for full-time and part-time employees
  • annual leave.

The new Schedule I applies to employers and employees covered by the Clerks Award.

While Schedule I operates, an employee’s usual terms and conditions of employment under the Clerks Award continue to apply, unless they’ve been changed by Schedule I. If they have, Schedule I applies instead.

These changes may affect the information on this page.

Go to Clerks Award flexibility during coronavirus for more information about Schedule I and when it applies.

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

An employer and an employee or the majority of employees can agree to change the spread of hours by:

  • adding up to one hour to one or both ends of the spread (such as 6am to 8pm Monday to Friday), or
  • shifting the spread of hours up or down by up to an hour (such as 6am to 6pm or 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday).

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

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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

Think a mistake might have been made?

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

Check out our Help resolving workplace issues 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.

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