Changes to overtime and penalty rates in the Professional Employees Award

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Published 12 September 2023

Find out more about upcoming changes to overtime and penalty rates for employees covered by the Professional Employees Award.

Who's affected

Professional employees that are covered by the Professional Employees Award are affected by the changes.

If you’re not sure if this award applies, use Find my award to check.

The changes come into effect from the first full pay period starting on or after 16 September 2023.

Overview of the changes


From the first full pay period starting on or after 16 September 2023, employees are entitled to overtime pay for working more than:

  • 38 hours per week, or
  • an average of 38 hours per week.

An employee’s ordinary hours can be averaged over a period of up to 13 weeks.

An employer can also request or require an employee to work overtime if the additional hours are reasonable. Factors to consider when working out if overtime hours are reasonable include an employee’s salary or position.

Employers also need to pay an employee overtime for any additional call-backs or remote work performed from an electronic device (such as a laptop of phone).

Penalty rates

Employees will also be entitled to be paid penalty rates for working at certain times and on certain days. We have more information about this below. These changes also apply from 16 September 2023.

Payment for overtime

Employees need to be paid their minimum hourly rate for overtime work. If employees work overtime at times that attract penalty rates, they’re entitled to the higher rate.

Employers and employees can also agree to an employee taking time off instead of overtime pay. Any agreement to do this needs to be recorded using the template included in Schedule F of the award.

For more information see Overtime pay.

Payment of penalty rates

Eligible employees are now entitled to the following penalty rates. The penalty rate is applied to their minimum hourly rate under the award. Use our Pay Calculator to calculate the rates now. 

  Full-time and part-time employees Casual employees
Monday to Saturday before 6am 125% 150%
Monday to Saturday — after 10pm 125% 150%
Sunday 150% 175%
Public Holiday 150% 175%

Example: Overtime and penalty rates

Ian is a full-time engineer employed by Jillian's engineering firm. Each week, Ian works his standard 38 hours Monday to Friday. His hours aren’t averaged over multiple weeks.

This week, Jillian asks Ian to work an additional 6 hours on Sunday to complete a project. These are overtime hours.

Ian is entitled to be paid for the additional 6 hours worked. Because the hours are worked on Sunday, he is paid 150% of his minimum hourly rate for the time worked.

Employees who aren’t entitled to overtime and penalty rates

Employees who receive an annual salary that’s more than 25% above their minimum award wage aren’t entitled to overtime or penalty rates.

Record-keeping requirements


Employees who perform remote work outside of ordinary hours need to keep a timesheet or other record that sets out the time they started and finished the remote work. It also needs to include a description of the work performed.

This record needs to be provided to the employer within a reasonable time after the work is performed.


Employers need to record any hours worked by an employee that are:

  • more than 38 hours per week
  • before 6am or after 10pm Monday to Saturday, or
  • on a Sunday or public holiday.

This record keeping requirement doesn’t apply to an employee who is receiving an annual salary that is 25% more than the relevant minimum annual wage under clause 14.

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