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Do part-time employees get overtime?

Hi Bare Bones, we have part-time employees who occasionally work different days and hours than those defined in their contracts of employment. Should we be paying overtime?

Great question citizen…let’s break down part-time employment into its components to get you the answer.

What is a part time employee?

A part-time employee is an employee who is engaged to perform less than full-time hours on a regular pattern of hours. Part-time employees entitled to annual leave, sick leave and carers leave on a pro-rata basis, according to their hours worked.

Minimum hours per shift?

There is usually a minimum number of hours per shift that an employer can require a part-time employee to work. Depending on the applicable Award, a shift is typically a minimum of three or four hours.

Example? The Clerks – Private Sector Award 2010 (11.5) notes:

An employer is required to roster a part-time employee for a minimum of three consecutive hours on any shift.

Can an employer change the hours of a part time employee?

A change in the hours of work for a part-time employee can generally only be made by written agreement between the employer and the employee. Changes in the days of work can be made by the employer giving the employee certain notice. Check the applicable Award for T&C’s.

When does overtime apply?

Payment for overtime depends on employee’s entitlements as defined under their contract of employment, enterprise agreement or relevant award.

As a rule, any hours worked in excess of the agreed daily or weekly hours are generally to be paid at overtime rates.

Any examples of employers getting it wrong?

Between 2010 and 2016, Luxottica Retail Australia Pty Ltd (trading as Sunglass Hut), failed to agree in writing with its part-time workers on a regular pattern of working hours and days, in breach of the General Retail Industry Award. The company therefore failed to pay overtime rates for work performed outside regular hours.

Sunglass Hut underpaid 620 current and former workers a total of $2,294,496 in overtime wages, with individual underpayments ranging from $4 up to $42,912.

The company admitted that it breached workplace laws and, in addition to back-paying affected staff, will make a gesture of contrition through a $50,000 payment to the National Association of Community Legal Centres.

Bottom line?

Prior to engaging a part-time employee, employers should carefully consider what days and hours of work they require from each part-time role. Hours worked outside the hours defined in individual’s Employment Agreement should be paid as overtime.

Hallelujah brothers and sisters!

Confused about employer obligations for full-time, part-time and casual employees? Be confused no more…Bare Bones Consulting got your back on this. We know HR stuff so you can focus on the stuff that matters to you. Call us to find out how we’ll help your business become smarter, stronger and faster. Shy? Shoot us a message here.

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