An employee’s hours of work must be agreed to by the employer and employee in a written employment agreement.

Any agreed hours of work or an indication of the arrangements relating to the times the employee is to work must be in the employment agreement. This includes agreement on any or all of the following:

  • the number of hours
  • the start and finish times
  • or the days of the week the employee will work.

Employment agreements must fix the maximum number of hours to be worked by the employee at not more than 40 hours per week (not including overtime) unless the employer and employee agree otherwise. If the maximum number of hours (not including overtime) are less than 40, the employer and employee must try to fix the hours so they are worked on no more than five days of the week.

If an employee or employer wants to change the hours of work, both should agree to this in writing in the employment agreement.

Hours of work in an employment agreement might include that an employee also do additional work, as reasonably required by an employer, and should agree on any compensation for this overtime. Employers must make sure that employees are paid at least the minimum wage for all the time that they work; this rule applies equally to overtime as well as normal hours.

Employees must be paid for their work as agreed in their employment agreements and this can be no less than the applicable minimum wage rate.

What activities are ‘work’

There is no magic formula as to what is ‘work’. Work may include any activity where there are; constraints on the freedom of an employee, responsibilities placed on an employee, and / or there is a benefit to the employer. Generally, an activity will be work if it is “an integral part of the principal activity”.

Examples of activity considered to be ‘work’ include (but are not limited to) time spent in:

  • after hours team meetings
  • opening and closing businesses
  • cleaning and tidying up
  • on-the-job training
  • product familiarisation.

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Penny Varley

Payroll Administrator