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.

Restaurant Award

Temporary Restaurant Award flexibility

On 31 March 2020, the Fair Work Commission varied the Restaurant Award by adding a new Schedule I. It was initially due to stop operating on 30 June 2020.

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

Schedule I adds award flexibility to the Restaurant 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 I applies to some employers and employees covered by the Restaurant Award. Use Find my award if you’re not sure which award applies to you.

From the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2020, Schedule I 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 I operates, an employee’s usual terms and conditions of employment under the Restaurant 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 Restaurant 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 Restaurant Industry Award [MA000119].

As a result of the coronavirus outbreak, on 31 March 2020 the Fair Work Commission temporarily varied the Restaurant Award to include Schedule I – Award Flexibility during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The Schedule allows an employer to reduce their permanent employees’ hours of work in some circumstances. For more information go to Restaurant Award flexibility during coronavirus.

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 in a day
  • 3 consecutive days of more than 10 hours without at least 48 hours break immediately after
  • 8 days of more than 10 hours in a 4 week roster
  • 10 hours in a shift, if the employee is under 18 years old
  • a 12 hour span during a broken shift.

Part-time maximum hours

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

  • their rostered ordinary hours
  • 11.5 hours in a day (or shift)
  • 3 consecutive days of more than 10 hours without at least 48 hours break immediately after
  • 8 days of more than 10 hours in a 4 week roster
  • 10 hours in a day, if the employee is under 18 years old
  • a 12 hour span during a broken shift.

Casual maximum hours

The maximum number of ordinary hours a casual employee can work is:

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

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 76 hours over 2 weeks.

She works 42 hours the first week, and 34 hours the 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 Restaurant 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 in a day, for full-time employees
  • 3 hours of work in a row, for part-time employees
  • 2 hours in a row, for casual employees.

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 Restaurant 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 Restaurant Award summary.

Source reference: Restaurant Industry Award [MA000119] clauses 9, 10, 10.7, 11, 15.1 and 24.4 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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