Home - Telling the time: Reasonable hours in the National Employment Standards

UpdatesMay 19, 2022

Telling the time: Reasonable hours in the National Employment Standards

The National Employment Standards (NES) enshrine in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) an obligation on employers not to unreasonably require or request full-time employees to work more than 38 hours per week.

A recent Federal Court decision provided a detailed examination of whether a requirement for an employee to work more than 38 hours per week was reasonable.

In Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union v Dick Stone Pty Ltd (2022), an employee was contracted to work 50 hours per week, starting at 2am, 6 days per week. The Court found the employer had required the employee to work unreasonable hours in excess of 38 hours per week in contravention of the NES.

The employer argued the additional 12 hours a week were not an unreasonable requirement because the employee had agreed to an employment contract that required 50 hours of work a week.

The Court rejected this argument and ruled the additional hours were unreasonable because of the following factors:

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