A roster is a timetable that shows the days and times employees are required to work.

Changing rosters

When an employer wants to change an employee’s regular roster or ordinary hours of work, they have to discuss it with the employees first. They have to:

  • provide information about the change (for example, what the change will be and when)
  • invite employees to give their views about the impact of the change
  • consider these views about the impact of the change.

Awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements can set out extra rules about changing rosters and how and when employees are given rosters.

Find information about rosters in your award by selecting from the list below.

Retail Award

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the General Retail Industry Award [MA000004].

Notification of rosters

An employer has to make sure the work roster is available to all employees. This could include by displaying it on a conveniently located notice board or accessible electronically.

The rosters have to show the following information on the roster:

  • the number of ordinary hours they will work each week
  • the days of the week they are working
  • the start and finish times each day they work.

An employer has to keep old rosters for 12 months. Old rosters may be requested for inspection, for example by a Fair Work Inspector.

Changing rosters - full-time and casual employees

If there is an unexpected operational need to change the roster, then the employer and a full-time or casual employee can agree to change the roster at any time before the employee gets to work.

The employer can make permanent roster changes by giving:

  • 7 days’ notice in writing, or
  • if the employee disagrees with the change, 14 days’ notice in writing.

If an employee disagrees with the change, the extra notice is to allow for discussions between the employer and employee to resolve the disagreement. Disputes about roster changes can be addressed through the dispute resolution process in the award. Check Clause 36 of the Retail Award for what applies in these situations.

If a roster is changed to avoid paying an employee a penalty, loading or other benefit, the employee has to be paid the amount they would have got if the roster hadn’t been changed.

If a roster is changed in a week because of a one-off event that isn’t an emergency, the employee has to be paid overtime for any extra time they worked because of the roster change.

Changing rosters - part-time employees

Employers and employees can agree in writing to change the roster for a part-time employee’s ‘regular pattern of work’:

  • before the end of a shift an employee is working (if the change is for only that shift), or
  • in other cases, before the change takes effect.

An employee’s regular pattern of work, other than their ‘guaranteed hours’, can be changed by an employer without agreement if they give 7 days written notice, or 48 hours in an emergency. This applies to start and finish times and the timing of meal breaks but not the number of hours worked on each day of the week.

The employer has to also comply with other rules in the award about rostering and consultation about roster changes. Check Clause 35 of the Retail Award to understand the rules and obligations that apply for rosters and hours of work.

An employee’s regular pattern of work can’t be changed from week to week or fortnight to fortnight, or to avoid any award entitlements.

If a roster is changed to avoid paying an employee a penalty, loading or other benefit, the employee has to be paid the amount they would have been paid if the roster hadn’t been changed.

For more information about changes to a part-time employee’s regular pattern of work, go to Part-time employees.

You can use our Roster template – Retail Award (DOCX 38.9KB) to record employees rostered hours of work.

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

Source reference: General Retail Industry Award [MA000004] clauses 10.10 and 15.9 external-icon.png

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