Department of Health Enterprise Agreement 2016-2019

Part E - Hours of work and flexibility

Page last updated: 28 January 2016

Hours of work

  1. All employees have a mutual responsibility for managing their working hours and patterns, including leave planning, flextime arrangements, and minimising additional hours where possible. The provisions below are designed to be sufficiently flexible for employees to meet business requirements and balance their personal needs.
  2. An employee and their Manager will work together to manage hours of work to ensure that an employee is not working excessive hours without the opportunity to take time off either as flextime (for APS1-6 and their equivalents) or in the case of Executive Level employees (and their equivalents), as Executive Level time off.
  3. All employees have access to flexible working hours. For APS1-6 (and their equivalents), these flexible working hours will be accessed through the flextime scheme.
  4. For the purposes of calculating pay, attendance and flextime, ordinary hours of work for full-time employees is 150 hours over the four week settlement period commencing on a payday Thursday. This equates to an average of 7 hours 30 minutes per day.

Standard Day

  1. The Standard Day is used for the purposes of determining a full-time employee’s hourly rate of pay, overtime entitlements, the accrual and deduction of leave and calculation of hours over the flextime period.
  2. The Standard Day for full-time employees is 7 hours and 30 minutes worked from 8.30am to 12.30pm and 1.30pm to 5.00pm Monday to Friday.
  3. An employee’s attendance pattern will be a Standard Day where:
    1. essential operational requirements and the availability of work require that hours worked are temporarily varied, including reversion to a standard day, or
    2. an employee’s attendance is unsatisfactory or that the employee is misusing flextime.

Hours of work of part-time employees

  1. For part-time employees, ordinary hours are those agreed in the employee’s part-time work agreement within the provisions of clauses 132 and 133.

Working patterns

  1. The pattern of hours by which an employee meets their ordinary hours of duty will be determined in consultation with the employee, and with regard to the operational needs of the department. An employee will not normally be required to:
    1. work more than 10 hours ordinary time on any day, or
    2. commence work on any day without having at least 10 hours minimum break from the previous day’s work, without specific approval from their manager.
  2. Where this does occur, the overtime and time in lieu provisions at clauses 108 to 119 and/or meal allowance provisions at clauses 65 and 66 may apply.
  3. Regardless of the bandwidth, APS employees are required to break for at least 30 minutes after five hours of continuous work.

Insufficient work and flextime

  1. Working extended hours is subject to work availability and manager approval. A manager may require an employee not to work hours in excess of their ordinary hours where there is insufficient available productive work to warrant working the extended hours.


  1. The bandwidth of hours in which an employee will work their ordinary hours is 7.00 am to 7.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

Work outside bandwidth

  1. Where an employee requests to work their ordinary hours outside the bandwidth e.g. on Saturday or Sunday, the employee may do so, subject to operational requirements, with the agreement of their manager. Any hours worked on this basis will be considered ordinary hours and will not attract overtime.

After hours use of taxis

  1. A Manager may approve the use of taxis by an employee for after hours work, as part of their overall WHS responsibility.

Recording attendance

  1. All employees are required to record their working hours.

Flextime scheme

APS1-6 (and their equivalents)

  1. APS1-6 employees (and their equivalents) accumulate flextime for duty performed in excess of their ordinary hours of work (over the settlement period), that does not attract overtime.
  2. Subject to the agreement of their manager, an employee may:
    1. vary their pattern of attendance from time to time in order to meet personal needs,
    2. take flextime as a part or whole day absence.

Excess flex credits

  1. Where an employee’s flex credit exceeds 20 hours at the end of a settlement period, the employee and their manager will put a plan in place to reduce the flex credits.

Cash out of credits exceeding 30 hours

  1. At the end of a settlement period, an employee’s manager may approve flex credits exceeding 30 hours to be cashed out at ordinary time rates where, due to organisational requirements, the manager cannot envisage an opportunity for the employee to use those credits in the next settlement period.

Cash out of credits exceeding 37.5 hours

  1. At the request of the employee, flex credits exceeding 37.5 hours can be cashed out.

Flex debit balance

  1. Employees may carry over a maximum of 10 hours flex debit accumulated in any settlement period into the next settlement period. If the maximum debit is exceeded at the end of a settlement period and is not reduced to the maximum allowable (or lower) over the next settlement period, the amount by which the maximum is exceeded shall be treated as leave without pay and an appropriate deduction made from the employee’s salary in accordance with the Accountable Authority Instructions.

Flex balances at cessation

  1. Prior to cessation of employment, the employee’s manager should provide opportunities to enable the employee to balance any flex credits or debits. Employees should also take all reasonable steps to balance their flex debit or credit. Where flex credits are outstanding at the cessation of employment with the department, the flex credit will be paid to the employee at ordinary time rates. Where flex debits are outstanding at the cessation, these will be recovered as part of the termination payment, in accordance with the Accountable Authority Instructions.

Additional hours

  1. In accordance with the FW Act, an employee may refuse to work additional hours (extra hours or directed overtime) where such additional hours are unreasonable. Such refusal will not prejudice the employee’s employment. For the purposes of this clause, additional hours are those in excess of:
    1. 37.5 hours per week for a full-time employee, or
    2. the agreed ordinary hours of work per week for a part-time employee.

Executive Level time off

  1. The department recognises the focus on the achievement of outcomes by Executive Level employees (and their equivalents) as senior professionals of the department. The achievement of organisational outcomes may involve considerable work effort, variable work hours and on occasions a requirement to work over and above normal working hours. The department recognises these efforts and contributions.
  2. Executive Level employees and their managers will work together to manage workloads and working hours, including making arrangements as to when any Executive Level time off will be taken.
  3. Where operational needs require an Executive Level employee to work additional hours in excess of their ordinary hours for a sustained period, including a critical incident response, the employee and their manager will agree and document arrangements for time off to recognise the additional effort.
  4. To minimise any negative impact on an employee’s health and wellbeing, Executive Level time off should be taken as soon as practical, subject to operational requirements.
  5. Time off for Executive Level employees is available on an hour for hour basis for official domestic travel only. All other Executive Level time off will not be on an hour for hour basis.
  6. Regardless of the bandwidth, Executive Level employees are required to break for at least 30 minutes after five hours of continuous work.

Time off for official travel

  1. Executive Level employees will only receive Executive Level time off on an hour-for-hour basis for time spent on official domestic travel outside of the Standard Day, excluding the usual time taken for the employee to travel to and from their regular place of work. Existing local travel arrangements for international travel will continue to apply.
  2. To minimise any negative impact on an Executive Level employee’s personal commitments, wherever possible the department encourages employees to travel within the bandwidth.

National Incident Room (NIR)

  1. The Secretary will specify mandatory breaks for periods of extended duty by employees working in the NIR during an incident response. Mandated rest periods shall be provided as full days. NIR duties in excess of five continuous days of increased hours shall attract no less than two consecutive days, free of all duty, immediately following the Incident.


APS1-6 (and their equivalents)

  1. APS1-6 level employees (and their equivalents) are eligible for an overtime payment where they are required by the Secretary to:
    1. perform work outside the bandwidth (inclusive of weekends and public holidays), or
    2. work in excess of 9.5 hours on any one day (Monday to Friday inclusive), whichever occurs first.

Executive Level (and their equivalents)

  1. Executive Level employees (and their equivalents) are not generally entitled to payment for overtime. However, the Secretary may approve overtime for Executive Level employees in exceptional circumstances. Otherwise, the time off provisions in clauses 99 to 106 will apply.

Part-time employees

  1. Part-time employees at the APS1-6 level (and their equivalents) are eligible for overtime for work performed at the direction of the Secretary, which is:
    1. not continuous with the employee’s agreed or specified hours of work, and/or
    2. beyond the total ordinary hours of work over the settlement period specified in the employee’s part-time work agreement.
  2. Subject to clause 110, a part-time employee will be eligible for overtime for work performed in excess of the agreed hours of duty over the settlement period, unless they elect to receive those additional hours as Time in Lieu under clause 113.

Travel not to count

  1. Time spent travelling to or from work will not count as part of an overtime attendance.

Time in lieu

  1. If an employee chooses, the Secretary may allow the employee to take TIL as a form of recompense for overtime as an alternative to overtime payment, subject to the provisions of this clause.


  1. Where overtime is worked, the rate of payment (or TIL, if the employee elects) is calculated at the following rates:
    1. Monday to Saturday: time-and-a-half
    2. Sunday: double-time.

Public holidays

  1. An employee who is directed to work overtime on a public holiday which falls on a weekday, will be paid overtime at double-time for duty outside of a Standard Day (for full-time employees) or the agreed pattern of hours (for part-time employees). This rate also applies to Easter Saturday if it is not declared or prescribed as a public holiday. For duty within a Standard Day (or agreed pattern of hours for part-time employees), overtime will be paid at single-time as employees are already being paid for the public holiday.
  2. Employees required to perform overtime during the annual closedown will be recompensed with overtime calculated at time-and-a-half.

Non-continuous duty

  1. Where a period of overtime is not continuous with ordinary duty, the minimum overtime payment is four hours at the relevant rate. Where the period of overtime is greater than four hours, payment will be made for the actual period worked at the relevant rate.

Continuous duty

  1. Overtime is considered to be continuous with ordinary duty when an employee does not have a break, other than a meal break, between the periods of ordinary duty and overtime.

Multiple attendance

  1. Where more than one attendance is required, the minimum overtime payment provision will not operate to increase an employee’s overtime payment beyond that which they would have received had they remained on duty from the commencing time of duty on one attendance, to the ceasing time of duty on a subsequent attendance.

Further information on overtime and TIL is available in the Hours of Work and Flexibility policy.

Family care assistance

  1. Where an employee is required by the department to be away from home outside the employee’s Standard Day, and the employee incurs reasonable additional costs for family care arrangements, the employee will be reimbursed those reasonable additional costs.

Public holidays

  1. Public holidays will be observed in accordance with the National Employment Standards (NES) and the FW Act.
  2. The following days are public holidays under the NES:
    1. 1 January (New Year’s Day)
    2. 26 January (Australia Day)
    3. Good Friday
    4. Easter Monday
    5. 25 April (Anzac Day)
    6. Queen’s birthday holiday (the day on which it is celebrated in a State or Territory or a region of a State or Territory)
    7. 25 December (Christmas Day)
    8. 26 December (Boxing Day)
    9. any other day or part-day declared or prescribed by or under a law of a State or Territory to be observed generally within the State or Territory (or a region of the State or Territory) as a public holiday.
  3. The Secretary and an employee may agree on the substitution of a day or part-day that would otherwise be a public holiday, having regard to operational requirements.
  4. An employee, who is absent on a day or part-day that is a Public Holiday in the place where the employee is based for work purposes, is entitled to be paid for the part or full day absence as if that day or part-day was not a Public Holiday, except where the Employee would not normally have worked on that day.
  5. Where a Public Holiday falls during a period when an employee is absent on leave (other than Annual or paid Personal/carer’s Leave) there is no entitlement to receive payment as a Public Holiday. Payment for that day would be in accordance with the entitlement for that form of leave (e.g. if on Long Service Leave on half pay, payment is on half pay).

Annual closedown and early stand down

  1. The department will be closed for normal business and employees will not be required to perform normal duty on the working days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Eligible employees will be paid for closedown. Pay eligibility for annual closedown will be treated in the same manner as public holidays in determining the appropriate rate of salary payment to apply on those days.
  2. Where an employee is absent on leave, payment for the Christmas closedown provision will be in accordance with the entitlement for that form of leave (e.g. if on long service leave half-pay, payment is at half-pay).
  3. There will be no deduction from annual or personal/carers leave credits for the annual closedown days.
  4. The department will be closed for normal business and employees will not be required to perform duty from 3.00 pm on the working day prior to Christmas and the working day prior to Good Friday. Eligible employees will be paid for early stand down. Payment eligibility will be treated in the same manner as a normal working day.

Part-time employees

  1. Part-time employees normally not working on the days of the week on which annual closedown and early stand down occur, will not be entitled to alternative time off duty.

Working from home

  1. The Secretary may agree to a request by an employee to work from home on a regular, temporary or intermittent basis.

Part-time work

Hours of work

  1. Payment and conditions for part-time employees will be calculated on a pro-rata basis, apart from expense related allowances, where a part-time employee will receive the same amount as a full-time employee.

Variation in hours

  1. A part-time employee may not vary their hours for a period of one week or less. Changes in hours for these periods should be accommodated using flextime or alternative arrangements as agreed with their manager. Details of the operation of the flextime provisions for part-time employees are provided at clauses 91 to 97.

Further information on part-time work provisions is available in the Hours of Work and Flexibility policy.

Flexible work arrangements

  1. Access to flexible work arrangements will be in accordance with the NES and the FW Act.
  2. The department will make every reasonable effort to accommodate requests for part-time work from employees returning from maternity, adoption, fostering or parental leave for the period up until the child’s second birthday, or in the case of adoption and eligible fostering, the second anniversary of the placement. Reasons for non-approval must be provided in writing to the employee, including reasons relating to operational requirements.
  3. Flexible work arrangements will be subject to an annual review.

Further information is available in the Hours of Work and Flexibility policy.

Review of workloads

  1. Where an employee or group of employees believe their workload to be unmanageable, they may request that an independent workload review be undertaken by People Branch.

Further information on workload review is available in the Workload Review policy.

Individual flexibility arrangements

  1. The Secretary and an employee covered by this enterprise agreement may agree to make an individual flexibility arrangement (IFA) to vary the effect of terms of the Agreement if:
    1. the IFA deals with one or more of the following matters:
      1. when work is performed,
      2. overtime rates,
      3. penalty rates,
      4. allowances,
      5. remuneration, and/or
      6. leave, and
    2. the IFA is genuinely agreed to by the Secretary and employee recognising the operational requirements of the department and the needs of the employee.
  2. The Secretary must ensure that the terms of the IFA:
    1. are about permitted matters under section 172 of the FW Act, and
    2. are not unlawful terms under section 194 of the FW Act, and
    3. result in the employee being better off overall than the employee would be if no arrangement was made.
  3. The Secretary must ensure that the IFA:
    1. is in writing, and
    2. includes the name of the employer and employee, and
    3. is signed by the Secretary and employee and if the employee is under 18 years of age, signed by a parent or guardian of the employee, and
    4. includes details of:
      1. the terms of IFA, and
      2. how the IFA will vary the effect of the terms, and
      3. how the employee will be better off overall in relation to the terms and conditions of his or her employment as a result of the IFA, and
    5. states the day on which the IFA commences and, where applicable, when the arrangement ceases.
  4. The Secretary must give the employee a copy of the IFA within 14 days of the agreement being made.
  5. The Secretary or employee may terminate the IFA:
    1. by giving no more than 28 days written notice to the other party to the IFA, or
    2. if the Secretary and employee agree in writing at any time