50 Hours Working Week (Salary Bases)

Hi Guys,

Wife just got a new job in a big production company.
Today is her first day working in the new company and just reliase that she need to work 10.5 hours ( Mon - Fri ). She was a little bit shock as she expect to work only for 38 hours per week. She is on salary basis.

In her offer it wrote:

You are required to work at least 38hours per week. You are required to work during company ordinary business hours, unless otherwise agreed by the company. However, you will also need to be flexible about when you work and you will required to work such additional hours ( and at such times) as are necessary to perform your duties and responsibilities or required by the company. You acknowledge that this is reasonable and is part of your role and that this is reflected in your remuneration, which is to compensate you for all hours you work.

This is her second job. The Question is:
1. is she going to get paid overtime if she work more than 38hours?
2. is this legal to work 50 hours per week?

Overall, Thank you in advance for any of your advice.

Thanks guys for the input.. really glad to read all of your opinion.


  • +14 votes
    1. No.
    2. Yes.

    Its a little bit more complex than that.
    Presuming your wife is covered under the federal workplace relations system, I've pasted the relevant section of the Fair Work Act below.
    Basically it comes down to whether the additional hours (those in excess of 38pw) are 'reasonable'. Key considerations are operational requirements, her remuneration and her personal circumstances.
    Worth a conversation with her manager in the first instance.

    62 Maximum weekly hours

    Maximum weekly hours of work

             (1)  An employer must not request or require an employee to work more than the following number of hours in a week unless the additional hours are reasonable:
                     (a)  for a full‑time employee—38 hours; or
                     (b)  for an employee who is not a full‑time employee—the lesser of:
                              (i)  38 hours; and
                             (ii)  the employee’s ordinary hours of work in a week.

    Employee may refuse to work unreasonable additional hours

             (2)  The employee may refuse to work additional hours (beyond those referred to in paragraph (1)(a) or (b)) if they are unreasonable.

    Determining whether additional hours are reasonable

             (3)  In determining whether additional hours are reasonable or unreasonable for the purposes of subsections (1) and (2), the following must be taken into account:
                     (a)  any risk to employee health and safety from working the additional hours;
                     (b)  the employee’s personal circumstances, including family responsibilities;
                     (c)  the needs of the workplace or enterprise in which the employee is employed;
                     (d)  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;
                     (e)  any notice given by the employer of any request or requirement to work the additional hours;
                      (f)  any notice given by the employee of his or her intention to refuse to work the additional hours;
                     (g)  the usual patterns of work in the industry, or the part of an industry, in which the employee works;
                     (h)  the nature of the employee’s role, and the employee’s level of responsibility;
                      (i)  whether the additional hours are in accordance with averaging terms included under section 63 in a modern award or enterprise agreement that applies to the employee, or with an averaging arrangement agreed to by the employer and employee under section 64;
                      (j)  any other relevant matter.
  • -3 votes

    Every car salesman (atleast in the West) works 58hrs/week. Just FYI!

    • +1 vote

      no they don't,
      they have a 5 day working week with a choice of 1 weekday off, sat is compulsory though.

      How do I know? I've been in the car industry for 10+ years.

      • +1 vote

        i suppose if they are good salesperson they can take a day off during the week, if they are crap, they need to work every day to make the targets for commission.

        • +1 vote

          i suppose if they are good salesperson they can take a day off during the week, if they are crap, they need to work every day to make the targets for commission.

          But then the other side of it is that if you're on a roll, you don't want to have the day off. Or you need the day to deliver the cars that you've sold.

      • -1 vote

        no they don't,
        they have a 5 day working week with a choice of 1 weekday off, sat is compulsory though.

        No, they don't. Weekly/Fortnightly/Monthly RDOs aren't an industry standard. EG We get 1/month, and that's the same contract that covers a major chunk of WA dealers

        I've been in the car industry for 10+ years.

        That's nice. I've been in it 5, and the guy in the next office has been in it 27. These have no reflection of what I've stated originally.

        WA works differently to the East, we don't have 7 day trade here, hence why I said 'atleast in the West' in my first post.


    Technically she doesn't need to work 10.5 hours. That is her choice.
    If her boss asks her to work 10.5 hours a day, she can point to the place on her contract where it says 38hours/wk.

    but then again, the contract says AT LEAST 38 hours… so that means MINIMUM 38 hours. There's no max. But she ha the right to work the minimum expectation.


      Thanks for the input.. Will try to ask her to talk to the HR..


        yeh.. but if she's not getting her work done in the 38 hours, then they can say she's underperforming and have reason to let her go during probation.


          Yeah.. I did talk to her after reading all the comment.. she did mention about underperforming.. is it bad idea to find another job when u just start one?


          @deltawing: not at all. definitely don't settle for a job you don't like. Life's too short. (Just don't make sure you can justify why you left the job, and articulate it well. Or just pretend you never had that job, i.e .leave it off the resume)

          There are plenty of jobs where you only need to do 38-40hours. (in all industries)


    She should have negotiated and have at least overtime included in the contract.

    You don't negotiate you get screwed….


      This is her second company that she ever work.. and I am still currently on my first company.. so both of us have no clue about contract.

  • +1 vote

    Pretty much as rambutann said.

    I've learn't (the hard way) to get clarity of what "reasonable overtime" is. If they continue to be vague, suggest base hours are 38 (in your example above) and reasonable overtime would be 2 hours per week taking you to a 40 hour work week. Then suggest what is reasonable for any time over this. Time in Lieu seems to be the easiest to negotiate, but can be hard to actually take.

    You really need to clarify it because many employment contracts are vague for a purpose, many businesses think that 12 hours overtime per week is reasonable and then you end up in your wife's situation.


    In my industry I typically work 8.45 to 7.00pm, and later + on weekends if we are in a trial or have a number of concurrent deadlines.

    It's the way it is. My contract also says I work 38 hours a week. But I am expected to have 30 billable hours on the timesheet and 8 non-billable productive hours recorded per week. It is impossible to bill every hour you are at work. I look forward to the day when every 6 minutes of my life isn't recorded/recordable/scrutinised :)

  • +3 votes

    i work in a kitchen.i whould love a 38 hour week.but i do get access to a lot of bacon so its not all bad.

  • +1 vote

    Off topic but no wonder Australians are apathetic about politics: they spend all their time slaving away at work!


      Thats why I ask this from ozbargain.. In our first job, we only require to work certain hour. and if its more than that certain hours, we got overtime.

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