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Modern Award changes – Fact Sheet 3 – Ordinary hours of work and RDOs

The Fair Work Commission (Commission) has confirmed changes to the Building and Construction General Onsite Award 2010 (Onsite Award) will commence from 1 July 2020. HIA recommends you consider the changes as some will have an immediate effect on your employee’s terms and conditions.

Ordinary hours of work

The ordinary hours of work provisions under the Onsite Award have been redrafted. Changes have been made to:

  • hours of work and Rostered Days Off (RDO)s
  • RDO banking
  • requirement to work on a day that is a RDO
  • agreement on working other than an RDO cycle, and
  • hours of work – part-time and casual employees.

Frequently asked questions regarding hours of work and RDOs 

What are the ordinary hours of work under the Onsite Award?

The Onsite Award allows for 38 hours per week between the hours of 7am–6pm Monday to Friday. 

A system for RDOs is also prescribed where an employee works eight hours each day (40 hours per week) and are paid for 7.6 of those hours (38 hours per week).The additional 0.4 of an hour per day (2 hours per week) accumulates to a paid day off following 19 days of work. 

The Onsite Award now specifies a maximum of eight hours of work per day for casual and part-time employees. 

When are RDOs taken?

Currently, RDOs are taken on the fourth Monday in each four-week cycle, unless it falls on a public holiday where it would fall on the following working day instead. 

However, the new provisions provide the flexibility and capacity to roster RDOs in different ways. 

RDOs can now be taken in one of the following ways:

  1. On one day during a 20-day four-week cycle on which all employees will take an RDO in accordance with a written roster fixed by the employer and issued seven days before the commencement of that cycle 
  2. On a day during a 20-day four-week cycle during which particular employees will take their RDOs on different days in accordance with a written roster fixed by the employer, issued seven days before commencement of that cycle, or
  3. By any other method that is agreed by the employer and a majority of employees as recorded in writing.

The rostering requirements must be complied with. Notably a roster needs to be issued seven days in advance of the 20-day work cycle and can be issued by:

  • giving employee a copy in writing
  • placing a copy of rosters on notice boards
  • sending written roster by post, fax, email, or
  • another means agreed by the employer and employee.

Example – Roster required 

Mick the builder currently employs two full-time carpenters. By mutual agreement they do not operate under an RDO system due to the small nature of the business. The business has not been able to commit the fourth Monday of every month as an RDO. With the new RDO flexibility changes, Mick and his employees are happy to move to an RDO system. One employee wants his RDO days on a Monday, the other want his RDO day on a Friday. Can this be done?

Yes. Mick and his employees can agree mutually in writing to work under a RDO system moving forward. Under this arrangement, his employees will work a 40-hour week and get paid for 38 hours, with the additional hours accruing towards an agreed day off per month. Mick issues his employees a roster with the Friday and Monday fixed days noted, a week prior to a 4-week working week cycle. He issues it by email as that how he ordinarily communicates with his employees.

Can employees bank their RDOs?

Yes. An employee and employer may agree to an employee banking an accrued RDO that would otherwise have to be taken. In such case the following rules apply:

  • An employee must not have more than five RDOs accrued at any given time
  • Any accrued RDOs must be taken on a day mutually agreed 
  • The employer must maintain records of the number of accrued RDOs banked and when the day is taken, and
  • All banked RDOs and time accrued towards an RDO must be paid out when an employee’s employment is terminated.

Can I ask an employee to work on a day that is an RDO?

Yes. An employee can be required to work on an RDO day with 48 hours’ notice, or otherwise must be by agreement. In this case the employee will still accrue the RDO and will be paid Saturday penalty rates for working on what otherwise would have been their RDO.

Does my business have to work under an RDO system?

No, but only by agreement. Where the majority of employees in your workplace agree that it’s not practicable to work under an RDO system, you may agree to an alternative method of arranging work hours. However, the alternative method must provide that ordinary hours are no more than eight hours in a working day, are Monday to Friday and are within the spread of hours. The agreement to operate outside of the RDO system must be in writing.

Can part-time employees operate under the RDO system?

Yes, by mutual agreement. The Onsite Award now specifies that part-time employees may work under an RDO arrangement by mutual agreement. In such case a part-time employee would receive pro-rata entitlements towards an RDO.

This information is part of a series of updates on the Modern Award changes aimed at assisting members understand the requirements. More information can be found in the articles in the ‘What to read next’ section. 

To find out more, contact HIA's Workplace Services team

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