How many hours can you work?

There are limits on the minimum and maximum number of hours you can work for each shift or each week, depending on how you are employed, and how old you are.

Generally if you are employed full time you will work 38 hours per week.  You  may be asked by your employer to work more than 38 hours per week.  If so, you may be entitled to a higher rate of pay (overtime) for these hours under an Award.

Part-time and casual work can be for any number of hours per week but is usually less than 38 hours.

The minimum number of hours that you have to work per shift can vary between 1.5 and 3 hours depending on the type of work that you are doing and your age. The type of work that you are doing will determine what Award your job is covered by, and how many hours you can work in one shift – look up your Award for more information.

FYI – The age you need to be to be able to work full time varies throughout the country – for more information, check your region below.

Differences between states

Northern Territory

If you are over 15 and have completed Year 10, you can work full time as an alternative to attending school. This will be monitored by the NT Department of Education until you turn 17.

ACT

  • If you are aged between 12 and not yet 15 you can work a maximum of 6 hours per day.
  • If you are under 15 your parents must consent to you working.
  • Someone under 15 can only work up to 10 hours a week.
  • A person under 18 cannot work before 6.00am or sunrise (whichever is later), or after 10.00pm.

See Working – How old can I be?

Western Australia

You can work full-time when you are 17 and you have left school, but there are some exceptions.

The minimum number of hours that you have to work per shift can vary, depending on the type of work that you are doing. The type of work that you are doing will determine what award your job is covered by, and how many hours you can work in one shift.

If you need to find out more information, call Wageline on 1300 655 266 or the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94.

NSW

You can only work full-time once you have finished Year 10.

For more information go to Lawstuff.

Victoria

If you are under 15:

  • During school terms, you can only work for a maximum of 3 hours a day and 12 hours a week.
  • During school holidays you can work longer hours, a maximum of six hours a day and 30 hours a week.
  • Your work should not hurt you or stop you from going to school.

If you work in the entertainment industry there are different rules around hours of work. For more information, check out the Business Victoria website.

These restrictions do not necessarily apply if you work for a family business or farm. However, your work must not disrupt your schooling.

South Australia

If you are under 16, you are not allowed to work during the hours that you are required to be at school.

You can work full-time:

  • when you are 17
  • when you are 16 and you have a year 12 qualification from a high school or a certificate 2 qualification from TAFE, apprenticeship, traineeship or university; or
  • when you are 16 and your full time work is an apprenticeship or traineeship that is part of an approved learning program.

Tasmania

You can work full-time when you are 16, but only after school has finished for the year.

Queensland

You can only work full-time once you have turned 17 years of age.

The minimum number of hours that you have to work per shift is 3 hours, depending on the type of work you are doing, but if you are a high school student doing casual work the minimum hours of work can be 1.5 hours in certain circumstances.