Overtime in a nutshell

Working overtime? Have you ever considered its technical definition?

Overtime is time worked that is not ordinary time. 

Generally, depending on which Award you’re under, overtime will kick in if:

  • you work above 38 hours in a week
  • work beyond a limit of hours in a day (usually 8 or 10)
  • work outside of the span of  set hours (eg. 6am to 7pm)
  • working on a weekend

Overtime is not the same as a penalty rate. A penalty rate is something applied as a sweetener for working unsociable hours (Eg, on a Saturday, or an evening shift), and is applied to the exclusion of overtime. If you’re working for  penalty rate, you might still be considered to be working within ordinary time.

Some tips for you 

  • Consult both the “ordinary hours” and “overtime” clause of your Award, and keep an eye out for “shiftwork” clauses
  • Remember that if you agreed/ are contracted to work a set of hours, going beyond these may attract overtime
  • Overtime rates may apply if you work past your break or if the rest time between shifts is less than (generally) 10 hours
  • The accumulation of overtime can be impacted by the pay or roster cycle

Overtime can be complex – for further clarity, speak to an employment relations advisor.

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