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.

Hospitality Award

Temporary Hospitality Award flexibility

On 24 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission varied the Hospitality Award by adding a new Schedule J. It was initially due to stop operating on 30 June 2020.

On 29 June 2020 they extended and changed parts of Schedule J. The extended sections and new changes apply until 27 September 2020.

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

  • employees’ classifications and duties
  • hours of work for full-time and part-time employees
  • requests to take annual leave.

The new Schedule J applies to employers and employees covered by the Hospitality Award. Use Find my award if you’re not sure which award applies to you.

From the first full pay period or on after 1 July 2020, Schedule J no longer applies to employees in the JobKeeper scheme. Instead, these employers can use the temporary Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions to manage their workforce more flexibly.

For information about the JobKeeper scheme and the Fair Work Act JobKeeper provisions, see JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme.

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

These changes may affect the information on this page.

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

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Hospitality Industry General Award [MA000009].

Maximum number of hours

The maximum number of ordinary hours employees can work in a week or day is different for full-time, part-time and casual employees.

Full-time maximum hours

The maximum number of ordinary hours a full-time employee can work is:

  • an average of 38 hours over a 4 week roster cycle
  • 11.5 hours per day
  • 3 consecutive days of more than 10 hours without 48 hours break immediately after
  • 8 days of 10 hours in a 4 week roster
  • a 12 hour span during a broken shift.

Part-time maximum hours

Part-time employees can work the following maximum number of ordinary hours:

  • their rostered ordinary hours
  • 11.5 hours per day (or shift)
  • 3 consecutive days of more than 10 hours without 48 hours break immediately after
  • 8 days of 10 hours in a 4 week roster
  • a 12 hour span during a broken shift.

Casual maximum hours

Casual employees can work the following maximum number of ordinary hours:

  • 12 hours in a day (or shift)
  • an average of 38 hours over a 4 week roster cycle.

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

An employer and employee can agree to average the hours over a longer period than 4 weeks.


Cindy works full-time and averages her 38 hours a week by working 76 hours over 2 weeks.

She works 42 hours the first week and 34 hours second week. 42 + 34 = 76 hours.

This means that over 2 weeks she has worked an average of 38 hours per week.

Spread of hours

The ordinary hours in the Hospitality Award can be worked at any time on any day of the week.

Minimum hours

Each time a full-time, part-time or casual employee works they have to be given at least:

  • 6 hours of work, for full-time employees
  • 3 hours of work, for part-time employees
  • 2 hours in a row, for casuals.

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

  • 6 hours for full-time
  • 3 hours for part-time
  • 2 hours for casuals.

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

Arranging hours of work

There are different arrangements that can be used to organise an employee's 38-hour week. These include:

  • a 19 day month, of 8 hours per day
  • 4 days of 8 hours and 1 day of 6 hours
  • 4 days of 9.5 hours per day
  • 5 days of 7 hours and 36 minutes per day
  • 76 hours each 2 week period with a minimum 4 days off each 2 week period
  • 152 hours each 4 week period with a minimum of 8 days off each 4 week period
  • 160 hours each 4 week period with a minimum of 8 days off for each 4 week period plus an accrued day off
  • any combination of the above.

Each business will decide with the employees which arrangement best suits the business. Different arrangements may be used in the same business.

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

Source reference: Hospitality Industry General Award [MA000009] clauses 10.6-10.7, 11.3, 15.1-15.2 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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