LawAnswers.com.au - Australia's #1 Legal Community

LawAnswers.com.au is a community of 10,000+ Australians, just like you, helping each other.
Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
Join us, it only takes a minute:

SA Overtime - What is Reasonable?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by Damien1964, 14 October 2014.

  1. Damien1964

    Damien1964 Member

    Joined:
    14 October 2014
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi. I just started a new job as overseer on a sheep property. My working week is 38 hours Monday to Friday. In the contract it says 'there will be occasions when you will be required to work outside of these hours for which overtime does not apply. This is considered a prerequisite for the position you hold.
    Nothing else has been said about overtime hours, but I was told that extra hours worked will be taken off in lieu.
    So far, the past 8 weeks I have done 87 hours, working nearly every weekend. l'm worried that it's going to get so big, I won't be able to take it in lieu.
    Today the manager had a talk to me and said he was disappointed I took a weekend off three weeks ago, because it was prior to shearing, and he may have needed me on the Saturday. I should also make myself available to stay on the property every second weekend just in case the owners need me for something.
    Is this reasonable under employment law? I don't think I have a leg to stand on.
     
  2. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    23 July 2014
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    423
    Do you mean that in the past eight weeks, you have done 87 hours overtime? That's practically ten extra hours a week - a day and a half on top of what you are contracted to work.

    In Sheldrick v Hazeldene's Chicken Farm Pty Ltd, an employee was pressured to sign an agreement that moved him from 38 hours a week to 45 hours a week. In the decision, DP Gooley said:

    "There is a significant difference between being required to 'work such hours as may be reasonably necessary' and being required to be on an on-call roster. In any event the contract proposed by Hazeldene's went significantly beyond codifying Mr Sheldrick’s existing terms and conditions. It significantly changed his hours of work, removed the annual leave loading and required him to participate in an on-call roster. The direction to agree to these terms was not a lawful or even reasonable direction. Mr Sheldrick could not be compelled to agree to contractual terms simply because other employees agreed to those terms. What Mr Sheldrick could be compelled to do was to comply with his existing contract of employment. He could be required to work reasonable additional hours."​

    So, summarily, yes, it is likely that the additional hours you work would be considered 'unreasonable' against the hours you are contracted to work. Do you have grounds to be contesting these working conditions? Yes, however I would advise contact the Fair Work Commission for further direction. It may not be in your best interests to rupture the employment relationship, but they will be able to give you some guidance on how to have the matter resolved amicably.
     
  3. Damien1964

    Damien1964 Member

    Joined:
    14 October 2014
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, it's 87 hours overtime in 8 weeks. The working conditions are different to what I was led to believe at the interview. I was told that there would be some weekend work, and that it would be taken off in lieu. For example extra hours during shearing and calving times. My working day was to start at 7.30am and finish at 4.30 pm. seemed reasonable to me.
    However, by the end of this week I will have worked 22 days straight. The work on the weekend has been a pain, because it's split shifts, so I'm basically tied up all weekend.
    I guess I got upset when the manager had a talk to me yesterday saying he was disappointed I took weekend off on the 27th September off & as overseer, he expects me to stay on the farm every second weekend just in case the elderly owners need me. I didn't agree to babysit at the meeting!
    I am paid very well, and a house and electricity is provides for me. I am considering a pay cut, and lose the 'Overseer' title, just to get my life back.
     

Share This Page

Loading...