Refusal to Work Overtime – Reasonable

Refusal to Work Overtime – Reasonable

The amount of overtime considered reasonable can also be a difficult issue in the workplace. This was the case with Australia Post who disciplined two employees for unsatisfactory performance during the “indoor” portion of their shifts

The employees appealed the warning and the Commissioner accepted their evidence that they had both advised depot managers they could work no more than an hour of overtime on November 2, 2012.They had also followed Australia Post’s instructions in returning undelivered mail to their managers office.

This draws attention to the issue of OHS and its relationship to reasonable overtime. Commissioner Roe said both the workers had “reasonable health and safety grounds to refuse overtime beyond 2.30pm” after having worked a “large amount of overtime” in the preceding weeks due to Australia Post struggling to retain and recruit postal delivery officers.

The Commissioner stated “the refusal of workers to work additional overtime was consistent with the prevailing enterprise agreement and, as a result, Australia Post acted with undue harshness in formally warning them”

This reiterates the importance of reviewing each and every circumstance to make sure the best approach is taken. No approach is simple nor are they easy, but having another set of eyes via HR Central will go a long way in preventing these matters occurring in your business.



Michael O'Shaughnessy

Michael is a specialist in all things HR. With vast HR experience in the USA and Australia, Michael brings a wealth of knowledge and advice to HR Central. When he's not blogging for HR Central you can find him out for dinner in one of Melbourne's newest restaurants.

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