Yes. But the request must be considered ‘reasonable’.

If an employer requests an employee to work on different days, or at different times (outside of their ‘ordinary hours’), the employee must consider the request and cannot unreasonably refuse. A ‘reasonable’ refusal would be situations such as caregiving responsibilities.

If an employee unreasonably refuses the request, the employer may take disciplinary action against the employee. However, it is important to note that any disciplinary action resulting in termination must be mindful of the general protections and unfair dismissal obligations under the Fair Work Act.

An employer must not force an employee to work unreasonable additional hours. Most importantly, an employer cannot request the employee to work the additional hours if the only reason is for the hours to ‘match’ the JobKeeper payment (i.e. in situations where an employee might be receiving more than their ordinary wage due to the standard JobKeeper payment of $1,500 per fortnight).

Francine Clancy, Senior Associate