Employment Disputes

Should I be Paid For Working Overtime?

TGB workplace lawyer Belal Moraby writes about workers rights relating to overtime.

Workplace law, Adelaide, TGB Lawyers

TGB workplace lawyer Belal Moraby writes about workers rights relating to overtime.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently published a study showing that about 800,000 Australians are not compensated for the overtime they work.

It was also reported that women are more often not compensated for this work than men.

Overtime is usually any work over 38 hours per week however this depends on what is provided in your award or agreement about what are ordinary hours of work.

Generally speaking, employees who are not covered by an award or agreement but are covered by the national minimum wage are not entitled to be paid overtime unless their contract says otherwise.

The national minimum wage applies to employees who are not covered by an award or agreement.

All employees covered by the National Employment Standards have the right to refuse unreasonable additional hours.

The National Employment Standards cover everyone in the national workplace relations system.  Essentially they include 10 minimum conditions for employees.  These are found in Divisions 3 – 12 of the Fair Work Act 2009.  However, an employee’s minimum entitlements can also come from a modern award or agreement.

An employer must not request or require an employee to work more than 38 hours (or the employee’s ordinary hours of work if less than 38 hours) unless the additional hours are reasonable.

In determining whether additional hours are reasonable or unreasonable the employer would need to take into account any risk to employee health and safety, the employee’s personal situation which includes family responsibilities, the needs of the workplace, usual patterns of work in the industry, the remuneration of the employee, among other things.

In short, look to your award or agreement, or in the absence of either one turn to the National Employment Standards to work out your entitlements.  If in any doubt, seek legal advice.

For advice about your employment issue in South Australia, Western Australia or the Northern Territory contact your nearest TGB location.