Max number of full-time hours vs actual working hours

It is my understanding that a full-time permanent employee has to work maximum 38 per week as per law in NSW.

When I joined a company, the contract mentioned 43 hours per week (1 hour extra per day). I accepted at that time and didn't argue because I needed that job. I got paid for 43 hours at the ordinary rates.

After working with the company for 3 years, I am not working for them anymore.

What are my options?

Can I ask/claim for overtime payment for the 5 hours extra I worked week?

Should I just forget about it as I signed the contract of 43 hours?


  • What industry?

    • The contract says MA000089 Vehicle Repair,Services and Retail Award. But I worked in the IT department of the company.

  • +11

    38 hours!!?

    Salary here…i work way more than that. Everywhere i’ve worked that is the case

    • Salary sounds terrible.

      • Yeah, the systems not right..i don’t think working long hours for the same pay in a salary role is any badge of honour!

        • No it sounds horrible. How many hours do you do a week? Why do people agree to a salaried position?

          • @brendanm: Because the salary offered is more than a minimum/award wage

            • -1

              @SBOB: Lots of wages offered are higher than minimum/award wage. With no unpaid overtime. Hence my question as to why accept a salary?

              • @brendanm: please detail some of these jobs you think are offered as wages rather than salaries?

                In general, professional or higher level jobs are offered as salaries. Though unpaid overtime is not always a condition, depends on the job/company/role etc (I'm on salary but get paid overtime)

  • +2

    You were probably paid a salary. It's one of those we expect reasonable overtime contracts i think. The contract should've said 38 hours but the onus is on you to tell your manager that your contract has an error. Don't be a twat and just move on. You're not gonna get anything because you SIGNED IT lol

    Should I just forget about it as I signed the contract of 43 hours?


    The doctors in my family work like 70 hour weeks. lol

    • Not sure if this is a salary.

      I get paid bi-weekly and my payslip shows like this:

      Wages - Ordinary 43 Hours - Per Hour $30

      • You're on a salary because your billable hours per week is the same. People on salaries also have an hourly rate listed. Did you get annual leave, sick leave, long service entitlements?

        • Yes, 4 week A/L, 10 days sick leave per annum

      • -2

        Anything over 7.5hr should be paid 150%.

        • I doubt he's entitled to overtime pay. His award is one of the IT ones.

  • I just re-read your post it depends on what your EBA says or contract says.

    But i think if your not working there anymore you are unlikely to get any extra cash

  • What was the hourly rate on your payslip?

    • I get paid bi-weekly and my payslip shows like this:

      Wages - Ordinary 43 Hours - Per Hour $30

      • +2

        Call the FWO and ask.

        • +1

          This is the best answer.

          It will depend if you fall under an award, and if so, your classification in that award. If you are being paid higher than your classification, the extra 5 hours may have been built into your salary, but FWO will be in the most knowledgable position to let you know.

  • +1

    The contract you signed should stand, with no OT payable, bar a very few exceptions.

    Your salary is for ordinary hours and extra, normally worded as "Reasonable additional hours" or similar. Mine have normally been for 42 hours per week, though I generally work more, and I don't get any extra pay.

  • +2

    After working with the company for 3 years, I am not working for them anymore.

    You worked the hours for the contact you signed ..
    Theres no point thinking about it now as you've left, and there's no reason they would be expected to pay anything over what they've already paid you for those contracted hours.

    Also, 38 hours max a week…..pretty sure there's plenty of workers who wish that was true :/

  • +1

    what does the wording of the contract say? (the part where it references 43 hours)
    the contract has the answer
    the payslip is not the contract and won't give you the answer

    • The contract doesn't mention 43 hours specifically but it mentions the start and end time every day. On payslip, it calculates 43 hours.

      "As a full-time salaried employee, you will be required to work Monday to Friday, 9AM to 6PM. You may be required to work additional time on a particular day to finish a task or project, which will be agreed in consultation with you which is inclusive."

      • the 4th and last word is the answer, "salaried" and "inclusive". This means you are on a salary which is fixed, whereas your hours may not be fixed but required to be fulfilled as part of your agreed salary. So no, you can't chase 5hrs additional pay.

        Regarding annual leave, your employer is calculating the payslip on a 43hr week, which makes it a little odd, as typically a salaried employment is "calculated" on a 40hr week only, which is typical payroll system.

        Annual leave payment is calculated and paid to the pro-rata hourly rate over a 4 week period. I would check that your annual leave payout rate is equivalent to pro rata of 4 weeks pay.

  • Contract or not. What matter is if you are on a Salary or Wages?

    Like others have said someone on a salary will still have hours and rates shown on a payslips, it does not mean you are on a wages job. Also pay cycles is not related to Salary or Wages either.

  • +3

    I absolutely detest people like the OP.

    Happy to toe the line because they needed the job.

    Once they don't need it anymore, they grow a brain for their rights.

    The OP got paid for his hours and he never complained. He should lose any right to claim.

    • Don’t get me wrong here. I just had a thought and I put it here for the discussion.

      I was confused by the difference in 38 and 43 hours, salary and wages, and so on. Now it’s all clear.

  • What's to claim??? The contract was signed for 43 hours, it doesn't need to be 38. This is a legally binding contract and each contract is custom tailored for the individual.

  • +1

    Thanks guys for sharing your thoughts on this. I learnt lots of new things today.

    • When in doubt, type a question in Ask-OzB :D

      You sound like you only started working in Australia "recently"? and you heard information that is giving you conflicting ideas?

  • There's a lot to unpack when it comes to calculating a salary. Essentially they break down what you should get paid for a 38 hour week plus any overtime, penalties, annual leave loading etc then average it out over how many hours they want you to work to get your hourly rate. For you that's 38 hours at base award wage, 2 hours at 1.5x overtime, then 3 hours at 2.0x overtime times by 46 weeks (because 4 weeks annual leave and ten public holidays).

  • 3 years is a long time to realise that you are being exploited mate! You read the contract and agreed it, it is not unreasonable to ask for 43 hours work and you got paid at the agreed rates. What do you want to claim ?

    Matter is settled and over! Move on!

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