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.

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

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

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 5am to 7pm Monday to Friday), or
  • shifting the spread of hours up or down by up to an hour (such as 5am to 5pm or 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday), or
  • to include Saturday and/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

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.

Help for small business

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