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.

Storage and Wholesale Award

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Storage Services and Wholesale Award [MA000084].

Maximum number hours

The maximum number of ordinary hours employees can work is:

  • 8 hours per day (this can be increased to 10 hours by agreement)
  • an average of 38 hours per week.

Check clause 22 of the Storage and Wholesale Award for information on how to change ordinary hours.

Averaging weekly hours

An employer and their 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

An employee can work an average of 38 hours over 4 week period. 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: Averaging weekly hours over 4 weeks

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 34 hours the second week, 35 in the third week and 41 in the fourth week. 42 + 34 + 35 + 41 = 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 Storage and Wholesale Award can be worked (other than shiftworkers) during 7am - 5.30pm on Monday to Friday.

Changing the spread of hours

An employer and the majority of employees concerned or an employer and a single employee can agree to change the spread of ordinary hours by:

  • adding up to one hour to one or both ends of the spread (such as 6am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday), or
  • shifting the spread of hours up or down by up to an hour (such as 6am to 4.30pm or 8am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday), or
  • to include a Saturday and/or Sunday.

Minimum hours

Each time a part-time 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.

Each time a casual employee works, they have to be given at least 4 hours of work in a row. If they aren't given at least these hours, they still have to be paid a minimum of 4 hours.

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

Check the Storage and Wholesale 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:

  • work less than 8 hours on 1 or more days a week
  • rostering employees off on days of the week so that each employee can have a day off
  • accumulating a rostered day off every 4 weeks.

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

Source reference: Storage Services and Wholesale Award [MA000084] clauses 8, 13 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

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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