Hours of work

Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws

If your workplace has been impacted by coronavirus, we have information about your workplace rights and obligations at Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws.

A number of temporary changes have been introduced due to coronavirus including:

  • JobKeeper – changes to the Fair Work Act to support the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme
  • temporary award changes – allowing for temporary workplace flexibility in some awards
  • pandemic leave – unpaid and paid pandemic leave (including worker and disaster payments) during coronavirus.
  • These changes may affect the information on this page.

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.

Fast Food Award

Temporary changes to the Fast Food Award

Between 19 May 2020 and 31 July 2020 the Fast Food had a temporary Schedule H. Schedule H changed entitlements under the award relating to:

  • part-time work
  • annual leave.

The Schedule applied to:

  • employees covered by the Fast Food Award who didn’t qualify for JobKeeper payments
  • employers covered by the Fast Food Award who weren’t eligible for JobKeeper payments.

For the time that Schedule H operated, an employee’s usual terms and conditions of employment under the Fast Food Award continued to apply, unless changed under Schedule H.

Schedule H in the Fast Food Award stopped applying from 31 July 2020. The standard award provisions detailed on this page now apply.

Go to Fast Food Award flexibility during coronavirus for more information about the changes that applied under Schedule H.

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Fast Food Industry Award [MA000003].

Maximum number hours

The maximum number of ordinary hours employees can work is:

  • 11 hours per day
  • 38 hours per week.

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 114 hours over 3 weeks.

She works 42 hours the first week, 38 hours the second week and 34 hours the third week. 42 + +38 + 34 = 114 hours.

This means that over 3 weeks she has worked an average of 38 hours per week.

Spread of hours

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

Minimum hours

Each time a part-time or casual employee works, they have to be given at least 3 hours of work in a row.

If they aren't given these hours, they still have to be paid a minimum of 3 hours.

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

Arranging hours of work

An employee can work a maximum of 5 days a week. If ordinary hours are worked on 6 days, the next weeks hours will be worked on a maximum of 4 days.

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

Source reference: Fast Food Industry Award [MA000003] clauses 11, 12, 12.1(a), 12.5, 13.4, 25.2, 25.3, 25.4 and 26.1(a) 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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