Part-time employees

A part-time employee:

What part-time employees get

Part-time employees get the same minimum entitlements (such as sick leave and annual leave) as a full-time employee, but on a pro-rata basis.

Example: Sick and carer's leave entitlements for part­-time employees

Suzanne is a full-time employee who works 38 hours, 5 days a week. Rebecca is a part-time employee who works an average of 19 hours per week, working a 5-day fortnight. Suzanne gets 76 hours (or 10 days) of paid sick and carer's leave per year. Rebecca gets half of Suzanne’s paid sick and carer's leave per year as she works half the hours Suzanne works.

How part-time is different to full-time or casual

On 20 May 2020, the Full Federal Court of Australia handed down a decision about casual employment and leave entitlements. We’ve reviewed our information and confirm that it is accurate in light of this decision. For more information see WorkPac Pty Ltd v Rossato [2020] FCAFC 84 external-icon.png.

On 26 November 2020, the High Court of Australia granted WorkPac Pty Ltd special leave to appeal this decision. We’ll monitor the proceedings and update our information with any significant changes. In the meantime, the information on this page reflects the current state of the law.

Full-time employees work longer hours. On average, they work 38 hours per week.

Casual employees usually work irregular hours. A casual employee does not have a firm commitment in advance from their employer about how long they will be employed for, or the days or hours they will work.

Find information about changing from part-time to casual employment.

Part-time hours of work agreements

Many awards, enterprise agreements and other registered agreements have record-keeping arrangements for part-time employees about their hours of work.

Find information about hours of work arrangements for part-time employees in your award by selecting from the list below.

Social and Community Services Award

Based on what you've told us, it looks like you're covered by the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Award [MA000100].

A part-time employee is employed to work less than 38 ordinary hours per week. An employer and employee have to agree on a regular pattern of work when the employee starts.

The agreement has to be in writing and include:

  • the hours worked each week
  • the days of the week the employee will work
  • the start and finish times each day.

The employer and employee should keep a copy of the agreement.

The hours in the agreement don’t have to be the same hours each week. For example, this means they could agree to work 12 hours in one week and 16 hours each alternating week.

These provisions started applying from 1 January 2018. For more information, read Changes to casual and part-time entitlements in some awards.

The hours in the agreement have to be worked within the ordinary hours in the award. This includes the times of day the hours can be worked and the maximum and minimum hours of work. For the ordinary hours in this award, go to Hours of work.

Use the Part-time hours of work agreement and variation (DOC 91KB) template to record part-time hours of work.

When can a part-time employee’s hours be changed?

The pattern of work can only be changed if the employer and employee agree in writing. They can agree to change it for a set amount of time or on an ongoing basis. The employer and employee should keep a copy of the change.

The roster for the days and times of work (not the amount of hours) may be changed in other ways than by agreement. For the rules about when a roster can be changed, go to Rosters.

Use the Part-time hours of work agreement and variation (DOC 91KB) template to record changes to part-time hours of work.

When can an employee change to part-time?

An employee might want to go part-time, either for a short amount of time or permanently. The employer and employee should agree in writing to the change to part-time employment.

An employer can’t make a person change from full-time to part-time employment. If an employer does this, it may be a redundancy. For more information on what a redundancy is, go to Redundancy.

What happens to leave entitlements when changing to part-time?

When an employee changes from full-time to part-time, they keep any leave they have accumulated, such as annual leave or sick leave.

To find out more about who this award applies to, go to the Social and Community Services Award summary.

Source reference: Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Award [MA000100] clause 10.3 external-icon.png

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Think a mistake might have been made?

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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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