Ask Lisa

Dear Lisa,

I have recently been offered a position as a part-time teacher. My contract states that by signing the employment agreement I am agreeing to work up to 10 hours a day at ordinary rates. It says this arrangement can only be changed by mutual agreement. I am a bit unsure about this. Do I have to sign the employment agreement to start work?


Dear Mary,

If you sign your contract there is an assumption that you have agreed to work 10 hour days. However the Educational Services (Teachers) Award is quite clear on this issue. In Clause B4.1(b) it states: No part time employee may work in excess of eight hours in any day without the payment of overtime. The only way that your employer could ask you to work 10 hour days without the payment of overtime is through an ‘Individual Flexibility Agreement’. If you were to enter into such an agreement, it must be in writing, dated and must specify exactly the clauses of the award that are to be varied and most importantly it must state how you would be better off over all if you enter such an agreement and how you can terminate such an agreement.

Without such an agreement your employer must pay you.

This means your employer must pay you overtime for all work over eight hours in a day unless you agree to be paid your normal rate of pay. I advise you to explain that you want to retain your entitlement to overtime to your new employer and request that any reference to ordinary rates of pay being applicable beyond eight hours a day be removed from the employment agreement before you sign it.

Kind regards,