Overtime refers to any hours of work that an employee completes which exceed their normally scheduled hours of work. Overtime is usually paid at a higher rate than an employee’s normal rate however, it is common for an employer to request that employees work additional hours at no additional cost.

overtime pay rates

An employee has a right to question whether the unpaid overtime is necessary and legal. There is no fixed meaning of what reasonable additional hours maybe and this may vary on a case by case basis.

Section 62(3) provides a list of considerations that must be taken into account when determining whether additional hours are reasonable. They are as follows:

  • any risk to employee health and safety from working the additional hours;
  • the employee’s personal circumstances, including family responsibilities;
  • the needs of the workplace or enterprise in which the employee is employed;
  • whether the employee is entitled to receive overtime payments penalty rates or other compensation for, or a level of remuneration that reflects an expectation of working additional hours;
  • any notice is given by the employer of any request or requirement to work the additional hours;
  • any notice is given by the employee of his or her intention to refuse to work the additional hours;
  • the usual patterns of work in the industry, or the part of an industry, in which the employee works;
  • the nature of the employee’s role, and the employee’s level of responsibility;
  • whether the additional hours are in accordance with averaging terms included under section 63 in a modern award or enterprise agreement that applies to the employee, or with an averaging arrangement agreed to by the employer and employee under section 64;
  • any other relevant matter.

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Overtime Issues?

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Frequently asked overtime law questions

Is it reasonable for my manager to request that I carry out overtime to complete duties that are not within my job description or implied duties?

If an employee is in a senior position (such as a managerial role) and/or a higher salary reflects a standard of work required, it may be reasonable for an employer to require overtime to complete the requirements of the role. However, if that is not the case, this may be an unreasonable and unlawful request.

The workload that is requested of me requires that I work overtime hours. Is this reasonable?

Whether the overtime is reasonable depends on a myriad of considerations, including your current annual remuneration and position within the company.

If an employee is in a senior position (such as a managerial role) and/or a higher salary reflects a standard of work required, it may be reasonable for an employer to require overtime to complete the requirements of the role. If this is not the case, you should discuss your workload with your superior and establish reasonable working expectations.

My employer pays for overtime work, but I think that it's not being calculated correctly.

Any act of an employer paying less than the required wage is considered an underpayment and can be claimed for up to 6 years. You may find the appropriate calculation for overtime work within your Modern Award.

Am I allowed to refuse overtime work?

If an employee believes that the overtime request is unreasonable or poses a risk to their health and safety, they are entitled to refuse the overtime work.

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