Ordinary hours

What are ordinary hours?

Ordinary hours refer to the standard or regular working hours that are agreed upon in various employment agreements and regulations.

These agreements can include awards, enterprise agreements, and other registered agreements.

The concept of ordinary hours encompasses several aspects:

Maximum ordinary hours

  • Set limits on the maximum number of ordinary hours that can be worked in a day, week, fortnight, or month.
  • Prevents excessive working hours and promotes work-life balance.

Minimum ordinary hours

  • Establishes the minimum number of ordinary hours that must be worked in a day.
  • Ensures employees receive a certain level of guaranteed work and compensation.

Timing of ordinary hours

  • Defines the specific times of the day when ordinary hours can be worked.
  • Example: Between 7 am and 7 pm.

Differentiation by employment type

  • Ordinary hours can vary based on the employee’s employment type (full-time, part-time, casual).
  • Full-time employees typically have a standard of 38 hours per week.
  • Part-time and casual employees may have proportional or variable ordinary hours.

*Source:Hours of work

Ordinary hours vs spread of hours

Ordinary hours and spread of hours are important concepts in determining an employee’s working schedule. Here’s a summary of what each term represents:

Ordinary Hours

The standard working hours that an employee is expected to work on a regular basis. These hours are typically defined in the employee’s employment contract or relevant industry award.

They do not include any additional pay or penalties for working within those hours.

Spread of Hours

The range of time during which an employee’s ordinary hours can be scheduled.

It specifies the earliest and latest start and finish times within which an employee can be required to work.

It allows for flexibility in scheduling as long as it falls within the defined range.

*Source:Spread of hours


The Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2020 outlines the following spread of hours for day workers:

  • Ordinary Hours: 9 am to 5 pm
  • Spread of Hours: 7 am to 7 pm

In this case, the employee’s ordinary hours are from 9 am to 5 pm. However, the spread of hours allows for flexibility, meaning the employee may be required to work outside of their ordinary hours.

They could start work as early as 7 am or finish as late as 7 pm, as long as their working hours fall within the allowable spread of hours (7 am to 7 pm).

Ordinary hours vs spread of hours

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