Recall to Work – Overtime (Local Government)

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    Mike Fitz Gerald

    QUESTION: “Hi Mike, I have a query regarding the application of the award for overtime. We have an employee who worked an hour and a half of his RDO last Monday grave digging. My query is if this is classed as call out overtime, being a minimum of 3 hours pay, or just regular time & a half, double time overtime? If you would happen to know the answer to this, or be able to point me in the direction of where I may find an answer, I would appreciate it. Thanks again”.

    ANSWER: There are many and varied situations where an employee is required to perform overtime, however, these can generally be broken down into three broad categories: the first category is overtime performed by an employee who remains on the job and continues working after his usual knock-off time. The second category is overtime performed by an employee who comes into work before his usual starting time and then continues to work his ordinary hours for that day. These two categories are said to be overtime that is worked contiguously with the employee’s ordinary hours and is payable at overtime rates for the overtime period worked only.

    The third category of overtime is that which is worked by an employee who has been recalled to the workplace after having knocked off and the overtime is not worked contiguously with ordinary hours of duty. This category of overtime is generally referred to as “recall” or “callout” overtime. This category of overtime attracts a minimum payment for three hours at overtime rates in accordance with the recall provisions of the Award, which read as follows:

    “21.4.2 When an employee is recalled to work after leaving the job:

    21.4.2(a) he shall be paid for at least three hours at overtime rates;

    21.4.2(b) time reasonably spent in getting to and from work shall be counted as time worked.”

    Given the type of work that you have described in your question, I am quoting from the Municipal Employees (WA) Award 1999 in this response, however, the recall provisions are very similar in the Local Government Officers’ (WA) Award 1999.

    The situation that you have described above appears to fall in to the third category of overtime, that of a “recall” or a “callout” to work after the employee had left the job. In fact he was absent on an RDO when he was required to return to the workplace to work. Accordingly, in the situation that you have described, the employee was entitled to payment at overtime rates for a minimum of three hours. If this same employee had worked for longer than three hours, he would have been entitled to payment at overtime rates for the actual time worked and in any case he would be entitled to be paid at overtime rates from the time he left home until he returned home from the job that day, provided that he went directly to the job and directly home again on the day.

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