Australia- Worker Benefits

Today’s post will focus on Australia. My information comes from International Labour Organization and Australian Government Fair Work Ombudsman.

Australia – Working time – 2011

Daily hours limit

The Fair Work Act 2009 does not impose a limit on daily working hours.

Weekly hours limit

The National Employment Standards prescribe the maximum weekly hours of work.

General limit

An employer must not request or require an employee to work more than the following number of hours in a week unless the additional hours are reasonable:

(a) for a full-time employee – 38 hours; or

(b) for an employee who is not a full-time employee – the lesser of 38 hours and the employee’s ordinary hours of work in a week.

Limits on overtime hours

The only limit on overtime hours prescribed by the Fair Work Act 2009 is that additional hours requested or required by an employer are to be reasonable. An employee may refuse a request to work unreasonable additional hours. Further limitations may be prescribed by the relevant award or enterprise agreement

Determining if Additional Hours are Reasonable

In determining whether additional hours are reasonable or

unreasonable, the following must be taken into account:

(a) any risk to employee health and safety from working the

additional hours;

(b) the employee’s personal circumstances, including family


(c) the needs of the workplace or enterprise in which the

employee is employed;

(d) 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;

(e) any notice given by the employer of any request or

requirement to work the additional hours;

(f) any notice given by the employee of his or her intention to

refuse to work the additional hours;

(g) the usual patterns of work in the industry, or the part of an

industry, in which the employee works;

(h) the nature of the employee’s role, and the employee’s level

of responsibility;

(i) 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;

(j) any other relevant matter.

Vacation and Leave

4 weeks paid leave per year, plus an additional week for certain shift workers.

10 days paid personal/carer’s leave per year

2 days unpaid carer’s leave (when needed)

2 days paid compassionate leave (when needed)

12 months unpaid parental leave (plus extra entitlements for some employees).


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