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.

Children’s Services Award

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Children's Services Award [MA000120].

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:

  • 8 hours in a day (with 1 day of up to 10 hours where the employee agrees)
  • 38 hours in a week.

Part-time maximum hours

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

  • 8 hours in a day
  • less than 38 hours in a week.

Casual maximum hours

The maximum number of ordinary hours a casual employee can work is 8 hours in a day.

Averaging weekly hours

An employer and full-time employee 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


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 Children's Services Award can be worked during 6am - 6.30pm on Monday to Friday.

Minimum hours

Each time a part-time or casual employee works, they have to be given at least 2 hours of work in a row.

If they aren't given these hours, they still have to be paid a minimum of 2 hours.

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

Arranging hours of work

There are different arrangements that can be used to organise an employee's 38 hour week. These include:

  • working shorter days (eg. less than 8 hours per day)
  • rostering employees off
  • accumulating an RDO (with a maximum of 5 to be taken in a row).

To find out more about who this award applies to, go to the Children's Services Award summary.

Source reference: Children's Services Award [MA000120] clauses 10.3, 10.4, 10.4(e), 10.5(c), 10.5(e), 21.1, 21.2, 21.3 and 21.4 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

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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