Maximum Weekly Hours

The NES sets out the maximum weekly hours of work for employees and the circumstances in which additional hours are reasonable or unreasonable. 
An employer must not request or require an employee to work more than the following hours of work in a week unless the additional hours are reasonable:
  • Full-time employee's maximum weekly hours: 38 hours
  • Part-time employee's maximum weekly hours: <38 hours
An employee may refuse to work additional hours if said hours are unreasonable. Here are some factors to determine whether additional are reasonable:
  • Any risk to employee health and safety
  • The employee’s personal circumstances, including family responsibilities
  • The needs of the workplace or enterprise
  • 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
  • Any notice given by the employer to work the additional hours
  • Any notice given by the employee of his or her intention to refuse to work the additional hours
  • The usual patterns of work in the industry
  • The nature of the employee’s role and the employee’s level of responsibility
  • Whether the additional hours are in accordance with averaging provisions included in an award or agreement that is applicable to the employee, or an averaging arrangement agreed to by an employer and an award/agreement-free employee
  • Any other relevant matter

For more information: