In all sectors, whether these sectors are covered by a Wages Council Wage Regulation Order or not, the employer may introduce schemes to bank hours, whereby up to 376 hours of the normal annual working hours in each calendar year may be banked, thus allowing extra hours over and above the normal weekly working hours to be worked during periods of higher work activity which would be redeemed during periods of lower activity by having working hours below the normal weekly working hours. Notwithstanding the latter, the average weekly working time, including overtime, shall not exceed an average of 48 over the applicable reference period in terms of the Organization of Working Time Regulations, unless the employee concerned has given his consent in writing to work more than a weekly average of 48 hours.
The hours of work which may be banked shall be limited to those hours on any day in a week which attract the normal hourly rate of payment. Similarly any hours of work which have been banked in order to be utilized during weeks of lower work activity, shall only be so utilized on a weekly day of work where the hours of work are paid at a normal rate. Moreover, the parties may also agree to include hours which attract a special rate of pay and in this respect, the hours to be banked shall reflect such special hourly rate of pay.
Part-time and Whole-time employees with reduced hours
Part-time and whole-time employees with reduced hours shall not be obliged to participate in a scheme to bank hours and shall not suffer any detriment by the employer for failing to agree to participate in such a scheme.
Before introducing a banking of hours scheme, authorisation from the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) is required. In its authorisation, DIER may impose any conditions deemed necessary.
Any scheme of banking of hours shall comply with the following:
►The employee is given prior written notice of the number of hours and roster to be worked in the following four weeks under the banking of hours scheme;
►The employer shall have the possibility of making an alteration of the weekly hours to be worked in the following week as long as at least one week’s written notice is given of such a change;
►The weekly basic wage shall remain constant throughout the year;
►In cases where the contract of employment is terminated for whatever reason:
• before the banked hours could be redeemed, such outstanding banked hours are to be paid at the applicable overtime rate in force on the date of termination, by the date of the next pay day. In the case of participating part-time employees or whole-time employees with reduced hours, any banked hours shall only be paid at the applicable overtime rate if the total hours worked by such employees when averaged exceed the normal hours of work of a comparable whole-time employee.
• where lesser hours than the yearly average have been worked, the employer shall not be entitled to claim a refund in respect of hours not actually worked;
►The employee may be required to work in excess of the scheduled hours of work on a particular day, such extra hours are to be paid at overtime rates at the applicable overtime rates;
►If at the end of a calendar year there are outstanding banked hours which have not been redeemed, such hours are to be paid at the applicable overtime rate unless the employer and employee have agreed in writing to transfer up to one hundred and sixty banked hours to the next calendar year. Such banked hours carried forward from the previous year shall be utilised first and shall not be carried forward again;
Vacation leave and sick leave
With respect to calculation of hours to be deducted from the annual leave or sick leave entitlement when these are availed of by an employee, the hours of work to be deducted from such annual entitlement shall be the number of hours which have been scheduled to be worked by the employer in accordance with the schedule issued by the employer.
Maternity and Other leave
When an employee participating in a scheme for banking of hours takes maternity leave or other paid leave not referred above, that employee shall receive the normal wages which may be due in respect of the maternity leave or other leave, as the case may be. An employee on such leave, shall be considered to have worked the same number of hours scheduled to be worked by virtue of such a scheme, whether these are above or below the normal hours usually worked outside the scheme. Such banked hours shall be considered to have been credited or debited, as the case may be, and be considered for all intents and purposes, in the same way as would apply to similar hours credited or debited by other employees participating in such a scheme.
When an employee participating in a scheme for banking of hours is on unpaid leave, he shall be considered to have worked the same number of hours scheduled to be worked by virtue of such a scheme, whether these are above or below the normal hours usually worked outside the scheme. Such banked hours shall be considered to have been credited or debited, as the case may be, and be considered for all intents and purposes in the same way as would apply to similar hours credited or debited by other employees participating in such a scheme.