Casual staff and overtime … can you help?


Are you employed on a casual contract? Do you know all the rules, regulations and entitlements?

One of our recent forum questions was on casual staff and whether they are eligible for overtime if working more than 40 hours in a week… can you help?

Q: Is a casual pool employee eligible for overtime if over 40 hours are worked in any one week period?

Amanda63 thought casual staff could not be paid overtime due to the fact that they are casual.

“In the public award, as far as I’m aware, casual staff do not attract overtime due to the fact that they are casual. This has been a point of debate for some time with the casual staff, particularly if you are doing more than 8 hours straight on the same day.”

Amanda63 also says:

“Many may not be aware but in the public hospital system the award states that on Sundays an employee doing overtime will be paid double time from the commencement of the shift (not time and a half for the first two hours), and double time and a half for public holidays.

“Sunday and public holiday overtime attract different codes to overtime at any other time when entered in to the computer.”

Can you help with this question? Do you have any advice for casual staff?

Make sure you’re updated with the latest on Nurse Uncut, subscribe to our FREE NEWSLETTER

Image source: Christiana Care

This post was proudly brought to you by the NSW Nurses’ Association.


  1. I think issue has been covered in The Lamp a few times over the years….

    The answer is definately NO !!

    In any Award or modern workplace Agreement, a ‘ casual ‘ is engaged on an ‘ hour by hour ‘ basis. This means, each shift is worked as a separate ‘ contract ‘ of employment.

    I once worked for the same hospital as a casual for five and a half years. When I applied for full time, I had no rights at all, over an external applicant. ( this was well before the current workplace rights )

    I’ve worked up to 75 hours a week as a casual. Double shifts & double doubles !!

    Still only counts as ordinary hours, with the appropriate penalty rates.

    Some of the lesser known rules with casuals:

    You are engaged hour by hour, with a minimum start of two hours. After the first two hours, you can be stood down & sent home.

    You can be paid the two hours, and not required to do any work. This is often for Agency Nurses who are double booked.

    You can be used in any ( acceptable ) way the employer sees fit for the two hours. Eg. ‘ help out in x number of wards, then go home ‘.

    I was even asked to sit in the ADON’s Night Office, and answer the phone for two hours, then go home – due to no shift being available. The idea was, keep you on site, in case a late sick leave call comes in. If no call after two hours, then you go home !!

    Remember, as a ‘ casual ‘ YOU have no rights, and the employer has every right to do with you as they please ( within certain guidelines, of course ).

  2. Could someone please advise.
    On casual pool for 3/12. Regularly on night shift as casual. Offered .8 contract night shift, extend contract, once again night shift but .6.
    On ward for 8/52. Macro and micro mangagement on ward. Artificial issue on ward. First person who is f/t dealt with at ward level by micromanager. I, a temp worker, treated and managed differently, outsourced to further macro and micro manager of recruitment and clinical services. This I wasn’t aware of.
    The macromanager of ward led me to believe that she wanted an informal get together to hear my version. On the day of get together, she employed macro/micro clinical services and casual manager, said he was there as support person. Not the case. Heard story and content to close it. However, has insisted that I work day shift.
    Said it wasn’t punishment, despite my pleading and my validation for nights due to lifestyle. He once again insisted.
    Today, found that they have extended my contract for two weeks to accommodate day shifts.
    My concern is that I will be micromanaged with the unrealistic stds and will then be handing them their trump card for termination.
    What are my rights?
    Secondly the rights of a casual to choose whatever shift and whenever … so in my case would it be advisable to terminate temp contract on problomatic ward and return to casual pool? which could also be a problem when managed by one person encapsulating both titles of micro and macro.
    Feeling bullied.

    Nurse Uncut notes: If you are a member of the NSWNMA (or your state branch of the nursing union), it’s best to get in touch with them to find out what your rights are and to get legal and industrial support.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here