In the world of small business, overtime can often be necessary to ensure your business continues to run to the best of its ability. However, what happens when an employee refuses to work additional hours? Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with overtime.
  • The National Employment Standards (NES) entitle an employee not to work more than 38 hours per week if employed full time. If the employee is not a full time staff member, they are entitled to work the lesser of 38 hours or their ordinary hours of work per week.
  • Any request made for additional working hours must be reasonable. This includes ensuring that an employee’s personal or family responsibilities have been taken into account when requesting additional hours.
  • An employee has the right to refuse to work the additional hours if they believe the request is unreasonable. If that right is removed, then you will be in breach of the NES and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). All efforts must be made to negotiate with the employee and make the best decision for both the worker and the business.

Ensure that employees understand their rights surrounding hours of work by implementing a policy that outlines their rights and responsibilities. All employees should have access to this document, which must outline the way to handle requests for changing working hours or working additional hours.


For more information on overtime, contact us on (08) 9316 9896 or

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