Employer expectations and the 40-hour week

This week, we’re talking about maximum weekly hours and overtime.

Question: If a full-time employee is paid the minimum wage, is it reasonable to ask them to work 40 hours in a week at ordinary rates?

Answer: No, this is illegal. For a full-time employee who is paid the minimum rate of pay according to the appropriate award, ordinary rates apply up to 38 hours. Above this, overtime applies. In this case, it would be 2 hours of overtime.

  • It is important to remember that an employer is not permitted to request or require a full-time employee to work more than 38 hours per week unless the additional hours are reasonable.
  • In determining whether additional hours are reasonable or unreasonable, a number of factors must be taken into account.
  • An award or agreement may include provisions for the averaging of hours of work over a specified period that is greater than a week.

For more information about maximum weekly hours and the National Employment Standards, including what factors determine whether additional hours are reasonable, visit:

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