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.

Hospitality Award

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.

Example:

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.

Loaded rate arrangements

The Hospitality Award allows an employer to pay a loaded rate to a full-time adult employee classified at Level 3 or above (with some conditions applying).

For eligible full-time employees, the loaded rate replaces:

  • some overtime payments
  • some penalty rates (but not public holiday penalty rates for example)
  • the split shift allowance when the period between shifts is between 2 and 3 hours.

Loaded rate arrangements don’t apply to part-time or casual employees. Employers need to follow certain consultation, record-keeping and dispute resolution rules.

Find out more about loaded rates at Loaded rates added to Hospitality Award.

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

Tools and resources

Related information

Help for small business

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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.

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