What is 'Work Time'?

You should be paid at the correct rate for all time worked: this includes opening and closing, training, and meetings!

Young Workers Advice Service Team avatar
Written by Young Workers Advice Service Team
Updated over a week ago

Employees should be paid at the correct rate for all time worked. 

This includes: 

  • Team meetings, and individual meetings with your employer or supervisor, that are at the request of the employer 

  • The time you spend opening or closing the shop, store or business

  • Any training sessions, courses or training days 

  • Travel that you do during work hours that are required for work 

  • Compulsory attendance at work functions. 

You should also be paid for the work that you should during a ‘trial shift’ or probation period after you have demonstrated that you have the required skills for the job. You can find out more about unpaid trial shifts, and when they are and are not okay, here

Scenario 1 

Ashley is asked to attend a 2-hour team meeting, where the team and the Manager, Tony, will discuss how things are going. Tony says that attendance is compulsory and everyone who attends will be paid for their time. 

This is okay. If attendance at a meeting is compulsory or highly encouraged, it is work time and should be paid. 

Scenario 2 

Jasmine works at a clothing shop. Her shifts normally start at 10am, when the shop opens, and finish at 6pm, when the shop closes. However, she is also expected to prepare the shop so it is ready for customers before it opens, and clean it after it stops serving customers. It takes about 30 minutes at the start and end of each day to make sure the shop is clean, organise the till, and set up the floor. She is not paid for this time. 

This is not okay. You should be paid for time spent at work or working – this includes opening and closing the business, even if it isn’t open and serving customers. If it is important for the functioning of the business, you should be paid.

What do I do if I think I am not being paid properly? 

To check if you are being paid properly, you can check your pay slip. Your pay slip should clearly state the amount you are being paid, and list any casual loadings or penalties you are receiving. 

If you think you are not being paid properly, get in touch with us. We can give you advice about what you are entitled to, and help you decide what to do. We can also direct you to other people who can help.  

To find out more about how to join your union, visit http://www.unionsact.org.au/joinyourunion/ or have a look at our fact sheet here.

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