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.

Manufacturing Award

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award [MA000010].

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...
152 hours 4 weeks in a row


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 Manufacturing Award can be worked during 6am – 6pm on Monday to Friday.

Changing the spread of hours

Employers and employees can make an agreement to change the ordinary spread of hours under the Manufacturing 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, 5am to 5pm or 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday.

An employer and an employee, or the majority of employees can also agree to change the spread of ordinary hours to include Saturday or Sunday.

Minimum hours

Each time a part-time or casual employee works they have to be given at least 4 hours in a row.

If they aren't given these hours, they still have to be paid a minimum of 4 hours.

Part-time and casual employees can agree with their employer to a minimum engagement period of at least 3 hours in a row in order to meet their personal circumstances.

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

Check the Manufacturing 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:

  • Substituting a rostered day off
  • accumulating a rostered day off
  • the work cycle can extend for up to 3 months for day-workers
  • working longer than 8 hours each day.

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

Source reference: Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award [MA000010] clauses 11.3, 10.2, 17.2 and 17.5 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

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.

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