Contract Information in Canberra?

therealarigold 3 March 2011 11

Hi there Everybody I have a little dilemma I need solving….. My younger brother has a couple issues regarding his work contract it clearly states in brief the following the amount of hours to be worked per week:

“You also acknowledge that it is reasonable for the Company to require you to work reasonable additional hours in excess of 38 hours per week, having regard to factors including the nature of your role and responsibilities, your base salary and other benefits, all of which are intended to compensate for such additional hours”

Now the issue is that he is only a 2IC and already works to an 80 hour fortnightly roster 6 days one week, 4 days the next he’s already working an extra 2 hours per week and the “norm” is 90 hours per fortnight yet it is NOT in the contract.

Is he within his rights to say NO to working 90 hours and sticking to 80 because the above excerpt is a bit grey and vague as to how many “reasonable extra” hours are to be done the poor kid is confused and feels he is being held to that because alot of other people work 10 hours extra.

I told him to contact the Union regarding this matter and to report the manager in question but since he is on salary there is no union??? What body can he go to, normal union is the SDA.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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11 Responses to Contract Information in Canberra?
troll-sniffer troll-sniffer 10:52 pm 10 Mar 11

You haven’t said what pay rate the employee is on. That can have a huge bearing on what is considered reasonable. If for instance the award wage for a position is $23.00 per hour and the employer is paying $31.00 per hour, the expectation of the employer is going to be higher than if they were paying, say $25.00 per hour.

As with most IR questions, there are a lot of grey areas and blanks that need to be filled in and assessed before a meaningful response can be given.

georgesgenitals georgesgenitals 9:13 pm 10 Mar 11

I think it’s simply a question of wther you want to have a career with that employer. If you do, go the extra mile and suck it up. If not, do the minimum.

BerraBoy68 BerraBoy68 9:00 pm 10 Mar 11

My contract (with a multinational company) states they have an expectation of my working a 40 hour per week (180 hours a month) noting more hours may be required to ensure the clients needs are met.

For a couple of months last year (and noting I work in a specialised field) I worked in excess of 290 hours per month, without additional remuneration or leave. It’s legal. It was tough but sometimes you just have to suck it up if you have a bigger personal goal in mind.

therealarigold therealarigold 8:21 pm 10 Mar 11

To update this story thank you to everybody who contributed to this post, the information obtained has been invaluable and a real eye opener on what employers can and can’t do. Keep the comments coming!!!

Erg0 Erg0 10:56 am 04 Mar 11

I think the long and short of it is that including such a clause doesn’t give the employer any legal right to force you to work more hours, but it’s definitely a red flag for the kind of cultures mentioned above, where longer hours are seen as the norm. Some people will implicitly consent to working more than 38 hours a week in exchange for additional benefits, effectively circumventing the law as long as both parties keep their mouths shut, but regardless of what it says in the contract your legal rights remain the same. If your employer is “forcing” you to work what you consider unreasonable hours then you can either take it up with the appropriate authorities or you can quit. Most people take option B, which is why there are still so many companies that see this as an acceptable way to do business.

EvanJames EvanJames 9:55 am 04 Mar 11

I worked for a national non-profit who had that clause, and they had an unwritten policy of tweaking events and travel so they happened in evenings or weekends, so they didn’t have to pay people. No flex, no TOIL, no overtime, no payment at all for the extra hours.

Yes, their staff turnover was stratospheric. What they saved in wages, they paid to recruitment agencies.

therealarigold therealarigold 8:44 am 04 Mar 11

thats exactly the problem there is actually no set number of “reasonable” hours so can that be 2 or 20? For me 38 hours a week plus 2 additional hours is more than enough…

NoAddedMSG NoAddedMSG 7:48 am 04 Mar 11

I have worked for two unis and both places had that clause in the contract too. It is taken as meaning “we will pretend you only work 35 hours a week as standard, but actually you will work 50 and extra hours on top of that when it gets busy.”

EvanJames EvanJames 12:05 pm 03 Mar 11

A lot of private firms pull this stunt, your “standard” hours are X, but the contract states that, as work requires, you’ll find yourself working extra hours without extra payment from time to time. I believe that they can’t actually roster you these extra hours ie it can’t become your defacto standard hours, it’s meant to be genuine instances where the need arises. They all stretch the hell out of it though.

Erg0 Erg0 11:34 am 03 Mar 11

Sounds like an attempt to find a weaselly way of getting around the rules for maximum weekly hours. Not that it matters anyway, putting it into a contract doesn’t make it any more or less legal.

mistertim mistertim 10:34 am 03 Mar 11

Try the Fair Work Ombudsman:

For some factors in what constitutes ‘reasonable’ additional hours, see: Also, while a union may or may not help, you can always join one whether you are on a salary or not.

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