When overtime applies

Closing Loopholes: Fair Work Act changes

The Australian Government has made further workplace laws as part of its ‘Closing Loopholes’ changes.

This may affect the information on this page.

Learn more at Closing Loopholes.

Find out about overtime and when overtime rates need to be paid.

What is overtime?

Overtime is work performed by an employee outside the ordinary hours that are set out in the award, enterprise agreement, other registered agreement or employment contract that applies to them. It can include work done:

  • beyond their maximum daily or weekly ordinary hours of work
  • outside a part-time employee’s agreed number of hours
  • outside the spread of ordinary hours.

The spread of hours is the times of the day ordinary hours can be worked (for example, between 7am - 7pm).

When overtime rates apply

An award, enterprise agreement, other registered agreement or employment contract can set out when an employee can be required to work overtime and when overtime rates apply. For example, some awards say that an employer can require an employee to work overtime where reasonable.

Find information about when overtime applies in your award by selecting from the list below.

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Overtime above maximum weekly hours

Employers can only request or require employees to work more than their maximum weekly hours where the additional hours are reasonable. Employees can refuse to work overtime that unreasonably exceeds the maximum weekly hours.

It is important that health and safety issues, like fatigue, are considered and managed if an employee has to work overtime. For more information on the health and safety implications of an employee working long hours visit the Safe Work Australia website.

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Related information

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Check out our Fixing a workplace problem section for practical information about:

  • working out if there is a problem
  • speaking with your employer or employee about fixing the problem
  • getting help from us if you can't fix the problem.

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