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.

Security Award

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Security Services Industry Award [MA000016].

Maximum number hours

The maximum number of ordinary hours employees can work is:

  • 10 hours per day
  • 38 hours per week.

Check clause 21.2 of the Security Award for information on how to change the number of ordinary hours per day.

Averaging weekly hours

An employer and an 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
304 hours 8 weeks in a row

Example: Averaging weekly hours over 2 weeks

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 Security Award can be worked at any time on any day of the week.

Minimum hours

Each time an employee works they have to be given at least:

  • 7.6 hours in a day, for full-time employees
  • 4 hours of work or 1/5 of the employee's agreed weekly hours (whichever is greater) for part-time employees
  • 4 hours of work, for casuals employees

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

  • 7.6 hours for full-time employees
  • 4 hours of work or 1/5 of the employee's agreed weekly hours (whichever is greater) for part-time employees
  • 4 hours for casual employees.

Employees who are called back to work after finishing work for the day, have to be given at least 3 hours of work. If they don't work these hours, they still have to be paid a minimum 3 hours at overtime rates.

These payments don't apply when the hours worked are straight after or before the employee's normal working time.

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

Source reference: Security Services Industry Award [MA000016] clauses 10 and 21 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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