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Hours of work, overtime and rest days

If you are covered under Part IV of the Employment Act, your hours of work are regulated and you are entitled to breaks, overtime pay and rest days.

Who is covered

The hours of work guidelines apply only to those covered under Part IV of the Employment Act.

Note: Part IV of the Employment Act does not cover managers and executives.

Definitions

Week - A continuous period of 7 days starting from Monday and ending on Sunday.

Hours of work - The period during which employees are expected to carry out the duties assigned by their employers. It does not include any intervals allowed for rest, tea breaks and meals.

Break times

You are generally not required to work more than 6 consecutive hours without a break.

However, if the nature of the work requires continuous work for up to 8 hours, breaks must be provided for meals. The breaks should be at least 45 minutes long.

Contractual hours of work

Contractual working hours are the hours that that you and your employer have agreed to in the contract of service.

For common work arrangements, your contractual hours of work are as follows:

If you work Your contractual hours of work are
5 days or less a week Up to 9 hours per day or 44 hours a week
5 days or more a week Up to 8 hours a day or 44 hours a week

For other work arrangements, your contractual hours of work are as follows:

If you work Your contractual hours of work are

Less than 44 hours every alternate week

Up to 48 hours a week, but capped at 88 hours in any continuous 2-week period.

Example:

If week 1 = 40 hours; week 2 = 48 hours; week 3 = 40 hours:

  • Average for weeks 1 and 2 = 44 hours
  • Average for weeks 2 and 3 = 44 hours
Shifts of up to 12 hours a day Up to an average of 44 hours over a continuous 3-week period.


Example:

If week 1 = 40 hours; week 2 = 44 hours; week 3 = 48 hours; week 4 = 40 hours:

  • Average for weeks 1, 2 and 3 = 44 hours
  • Average for weeks 2, 3 and 4 = 44 hours

Note: If you are not a shift worker but agree to work up to 12 hours a day, and not exceeding an average of 44 hours over any 3 continuous weeks, you must:

  • Give your consent in writing.
  • Have the provisions of Sections 38 and 40 of the Employment Act explained to you.
  • Be informed of your daily working hours, number of working days in each week and weekly rest day.

Overtime pay

Overtime work is all work in excess of the normal hours of work (excluding breaks).

You can claim overtime if you are:

  • A non-workman earning up to $2,500.
  • A workman earning up to $4,500.

The overtime rate payable for non-workmen is capped at the salary level of $2,250, or an hourly rate of $11.80.

For overtime work, your employer must pay you at least 1.5 times the hourly basic rate of pay. Payment must be made within 14 days after the last day of the salary period.

A non-workman earns $2,400 a month and works 2 hours of overtime. The overtime pay is:
$11.80 x 1.5 x 2 hours = $35.40

Calculate your overtime pay

How overtime pay is calculated

Overtime pay is calculated as follows:

  • Hourly basic rate of pay x 1.5 x number of hours worked overtime

The hourly basic rate of pay is calculated as follows:

For this category of employee Hourly basic rate of pay is
Monthly-rated employee (12 x Monthly basic rate of pay) / (52 x 44)
Daily-rated employee Daily pay at the basic rate / Working hours per day
Piece-rated employee Total weekly pay at the basic rate of pay / Total number of hours worked in the week

Maximum hours of work

As an employee, you are not allowed to work more than 12 hours a day.

However, your employer can ask you to work more than 12 hours a day in the following circumstances:

  • An accident or threat of accident.
  • Work that is essential to the life of the community, national defence or security.
  • Urgent work to be done to machinery or plant.
  • An interruption of work that was impossible to foresee.

Working more than 12 hours a day (overtime exemption)

If an employer requires employees to work more than 12 hours a day (up to a maximum of 14 hours), they must apply for an overtime exemption.

Maximum hours of overtime

An employee can only work up to 72 overtime hours in a month.

Employers can apply for an exemption if they require employees to work more than the 72 hours of overtime in a month.

Note: these work activities will not be granted exemption.

Work on rest days or public holidays is not counted in the 72-hour overtime limit, except for work done beyond the usual daily working hours on those days. Such extra hours are included in the 72-hour limit.

Overtime on a rest day or public holiday is calculated as follows:

  • (Hourly basic rate of pay x 1.5 x Number of hours worked overtime) + (Rest day or public holiday pay)

Rest days

A rest day comprises 1 whole day (midnight to midnight). It is not a paid day.

For shift workers, the rest day can be a continuous period of 30 hours. A 30-hour rest period that starts before 6pm on a Sunday is considered as 1 rest day within the week, even if it extends into the Monday of the following week.

A week is continuous period of 7 days starting from Monday and ending on Sunday.

Your employer cannot compel you to work on a rest day, unless under exceptional circumstances.

When rest days can fall

The employer determines the rest day, which can be on a Sunday or any other day.

If the rest day is not a Sunday, your employer should prepare a monthly roster and inform you of the rest days before the start of each month.

The maximum interval allowed between 2 rest days is 12 days.

Calculate your pay for work on a rest day

How pay for work on a rest day is calculated

Payment for work on a rest day is calculated as follows:

If work is done For up to half your normal daily working hours For more than half your normal daily working hours Beyond your normal daily working hours
At the employer's request 1 day's salary 2 days' salary 2 days' salary + overtime pay
At the employee's request Half day's salary 1 day's salary 1 day's salary + overtime pay

Last Updated: 12 May 2015