Hours of work & overtime
Put in the time to understand the rules about hours of work, overtime and breaks.
We have tools and templates for growers to help keep your workplace on track.
On this page:
- overview of hours of work
- hours of work under the Horticulture Award
- overtime under the Horticulture Award
- public holidays
- keeping track of hours of work.
An employee may have ordinary hours of work and overtime.
Ordinary hours of work are different for full-time and part-time employees, casual employees and shiftworkers. These hours don’t attract overtime rates.
Overtime is when an employee works extra time. It can include work done:
- beyond their ordinary hours of work
- outside the agreed number of hours
- outside the spread of ordinary hours (the times of the day ordinary hours can be worked).
Wine Award requirements
The Wine Industry Award has different requirements to the Horticulture Award. To find out about hours of work, overtime and/or shiftwork, check the Wine Award .
Maximum number of hours
The maximum number of ordinary hours full-time and part-time employees (except shiftworkers) can work is:
- 8 hours per day, and
- 152 hours over 4 weeks.
The maximum number of ordinary hours casual employees can work is:
- 304 ordinary hours over an 8 week period
- 12 hours per engagement or 12 hours in a single day.
Spread of hours
For full-time and part-time employees (except shiftworkers) the ordinary hours can be worked between 6am and 6pm between Monday to Friday. This spread of hours can be changed by agreement between an employer and the majority of employees.
Ordinary hours of work for casual employees can be worked at any time. From the first full pay period commencing on or after 15 April 2019, casual employees are entitled to a 15% night loading for work between 8.31pm and 4.59am (or 7.31pm and 3.59am - see below). This is paid in addition to their 25% casual loading. To calculate this outside span of hours rate, use our Pay Calculator.
Ordinary hours for shiftworkers can be worked at any time between Monday to Friday.
Changing the spread of hours
Full-time and part-time employees (other than shiftworkers)
An employer and the majority of full-time and part-time employees in the section/s concerned can agree to change:
- the daily spread of hours
- the days ordinary hours can be worked to include Saturdays
- the maximum number of ordinary hours to be worked in a day.
During daylight saving time, employers and the majority of their affected casual employees in the Northern Territory, Queensland and Western Australia can agree to shift the daily spread of hours forward by 1 hour. When this occurs the 15% night loading applies between 7.31pm and 3:59am (instead of between 8.31pm and 4:59 am).
Each time a casual employee works, they need to be given at least 2 hours of work in a row.
If they aren't given these hours, they still have to be paid a minimum of 2 hours.
An employee can be employed as a shiftworker under the Horticulture Award.
A shiftworker works ordinary hours between Monday and Friday, including on afternoon and/or night shift. Afternoon shift is a shift that ends after 6pm and at or before midnight and night shift is a shift that ends after midnight and at or before 8am.
Shiftworkers are entitled to be paid 15% more than the ordinary rate when they work afternoon and night shifts.
When a business adopts shiftwork, shifts will rotate regularly as much as possible between:
- day shift and afternoon or night shift when there are 2 shift options
- day, afternoon or night shifts when there are 3 shift options.
Overtime is defined in the Horticulture Award differently for full-time, part-time and casual employees.
An employee gets paid for overtime worked. Employees can agree in writing with their employer to take paid time off instead of being paid overtime rates. For more information, see Overtime pay.
Overtime - Full-time employees
Full-time employees get overtime if they work:
- more than the maximum number of ordinary hours of work, or
- outside the spread of ordinary hours.
Overtime - Part-time employees
Part-time employees get overtime if they work:
- more than the part-time employees' ordinary hours of work, or
- outside the spread of ordinary hours
Overtime - Casual employees
From the first full pay period commencing on or after 15 April 2019, casual employees are entitled to overtime.
Casual employees get overtime if they work more than:
- 304 ordinary hours over an 8 week period, or
- 12 hours per engagement or 12 hours in a single day.
To learn more, read our article on Overtime & penalty rates for casuals in the Horticulture Award.
Overtime - Shiftworkers
Shiftworkers get overtime if they work:
- more than 8 hours per shift or
- the maximum number of ordinary hours of work, or
- on Saturday or Sunday.
For overtime entitlements for shiftworkers in the Horticulture Award go to clause 22.3 of the Horticulture Award .
Overtime - Labour-hire workers (working multiple farms)
A labour hire company is required to pay an employee overtime (where it applies) based on the total hours worked irrespective of how many host farms the employee has worked at with the labour hire company.
However, if a worker is employed by a number of labour hire companies, each labour hire company is a separate employer of the worker. The employee is only entitled to overtime for the hours worked for a particular employer and not on the basis of all hours worked for multiple employers.
Example: Working for two labour hire companies
Jesse works for two labour hire companies, Labour Hire Company X and Labour Hire Company Y.
Labour Hire Company X is required to pay Jesse overtime based on the total hours Jesse works for them.
When calculating overtime, Labour Hire Company X does not need to consider any hours that Jesse worked for labour Hire Company Y.
Overtime - Pieceworkers
Pieceworkers are not entitled to be paid overtime under the Horticulture Award, as they are paid by the piece instead of by the hour. An employee is entitled to be paid overtime if they are paid based on the number of hours they work.
Hours worked while earning a piecework rate do not count towards calculating overtime. Only time worked earning an hourly rate will count towards calculating overtime.
Find pay rates for overtime using our Pay Calculator.
Employees must get public holiday pay rates for all time worked on a public holiday.
Full-time and part-time employees get paid 200% of their ordinary rate for hours worked on a public holiday.
Casual employees get paid 225% of their minimum hourly wage (this includes their 25% casual loading) for hours worked on a public holiday. They get this rate whether they're working overtime hours or normal hours.
The public holiday rate for full-time and part-time pieceworkers is calculated by multiplying the worker’s piecework earnings for that day by the public holiday rate of 200%.
Find public holiday rates using our Pay Calculator.
Learn more about public holiday pay rates on our Working on a public holiday page.
Workers can keep track of their hours of work using our free Record My Hours app.