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

The Building and Construction General Onsite Award (Onsite Award) prescribes ordinary hours of work and establishes a system for rostered days off (RDOs).

Frequently asked questions regarding ordinary hours of work and RDOs

What are ordinary hours of work?

The ordinary hours set out in the Onsite Award are 38 hours per week for a full-time employee, averaged over a 20 day, 4 week cycle.

The ordinary hours must be worked between 7am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, up to 8 hours per day.  

The Onsite Award also specifies a maximum of 8 hours of work per day for casual and part-time employees.

What are RDOs?

An RDO is a paid day off for working additional hours that equal a whole working day.  Under the Onsite Award, when an employee:

  • works 8 hours each day, totalling 40 hours per week and
  • they are paid for 7.6 of those hours, totalling 38 hours per week
  • the additional 0.4 of an hour per day, totalling 2 hours per week, accumulates to a paid day off following 19 days of work. 

When are RDOs taken?

RDOs can be taken in one of the following ways:

  • 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 7 days before the commencement of that cycle
  • 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 7 days before commencement of that cycle or
  • 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 7 days in advance of the 20 day work cycle, and can be issued by:

  • giving the employee a copy in writing
  • placing a copy of rosters on notice boards
  • sending a 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. 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 their RDO arrangements. 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 this case the following rules apply:

  • an employee must not have more than 5 RDOs accrued at any given time
  • any accrued RDOs must be taken on a day that is mutually agreed
  • the employee is required to work on the day the employee’s RDO was due
  • the employer must maintain records of the number of accrued RDO’s banked and when the RDO 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 this is only possible 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 agreement must be in writing and provide that the ordinary hours are:

  • no more than 8 hours in a working day
  • Monday to Friday and
  • between 7am and 6pm.

Can part-time employees operate under the RDO system?

Yes, by mutual agreement. The Onsite Award 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 Contracts and Compliance team

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