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Long working hours for Australian workforce

October 28, 2015

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The Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday released its Characteristics of Employment report which indicated that approximately 5 million of Australia’s workers put in more than 40 hours per week at work. This would suggest that a 38 hour week is becoming an increasing rarity among Australian workers.

Whilst it is certainly okay for employees to work beyond 38 hours a week, it is essential that employers are remunerating employees for those additional hours in accordance with any applicable modern award or enterprise agreement (Industrial Instrument).

Employers should consider the following few points:

  • Are you aware of the Industrial Instruments that are applicable to your employees?
  • Do you understand the conditions of these Industrial Instruments?
  • Have all your employees been issued with a contract of employment?
  • Do your contracts of employment notify employees they may work reasonable additional hours?
  • Are employees remunerated appropriately for any reasonable additional hours?
  • Have you calculated salaries for employees that allow for reasonable additional hours to be worked?

Employers should note that failing to comply with an Industrial Instrument may result in the employer being liable for significant underpayments, which must be back paid to employees.

However, it is also important to note that failure to comply with an Industrial Instrument may result in employers being fined for breaching the Fair Work Act 2009.

If you are an HR Assured client and have a question around remunerating your employees, you can call one of our experienced workplace relations consultants 24/7 for advice. 

Or if you would you like to find out more about partnering with HR Assured call us on 02 9083 0083.