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What are reasonable additional hours?

As an employer, you may find that in the day-to-day operations of your business that hours fluctuate, and you need an employee to stay back a bit later to complete additional hours.

21 June 2022

When doing so, you should be sure that these additional hours are reasonable.

When thinking about whether or not additional hours of work would be reasonable, here are 10 things you should think about:

  1. Will the additional hours pose a risk to that employee’s health and safety?
  2. Is it possible that the additional hours will affect the employee’s personal circumstances such as their family and personal responsibilities?
  3. Will the additional hours reasonably meet the needs of the workplace?
  4. In having an employee stay back for additional hours, does this create an obligation on you to pay over-time payments, additional penalty rates, or other forms of remuneration?
  5. Have you provided the employee with reasonable notice that they are required for those additional hours?
  6. Is there an opportunity for the employee to give you sufficient notice to refuse those additional hours requested?
  7. How do the additional hours reflect the standard working hours within your workplace and industry?
  8. What is the nature of the employee’s role including their level of responsibility and relationship to the work needed to be required?
  9. Do the additional hours comply with any requirements under an award, enterprise agreement, or written agreement around the number of working hours that an employee is to work during any set period (for example one week, or an averaging period of four weeks).
  10. Are there any other relevant matters that you should be considering in relation to this, including the date (public holidays) or the hours (late shifts) and whether or not the employee has already completed additional hours previously within the past weeks/month?

When you have asked yourself these questions, and then need to decide what to do,  contact the experienced team at ALG to assist you in a calm and respectful manner, as aligned with our core values. 

James Welch (Director) and the experienced team at ALG are ready to book you in for your initial Consultation to address your employment law needs on 02 4220 7100, by email lawyers@alg.com.au, or here.