Should I be paid if I come in early to open? Fair Work busts 10 common myths

by Freya Lucas

January 17

The Fair Work Ombudsman has responded to ten common myths which persist in a variety of sectors, including early childhood education and care (ECEC), often representing pitfalls for younger or less experienced workers. 

 

One of the myths, number three, is one which persists in conversations amongst ECEC professionals in a variety of social media platforms, namely “can I be asked to come in 15 minutes early/ leave 15 minutes late to open and close the service? Should I be paid for that time?”

 

Fair Work’s response is that employees must be paid for all hours they dedicate to work and this includes time spent opening or closing a service. For example, if an employee is required to be at work at 7.45am to prepare for an 8am opening, they need to be paid from 7.45am.

 

A second myth, pervasive in the ECEC sector, is that employees do not need to be paid for time spent at meetings or training outside their paid work hours. For example, staff meetings where educators are not paid, but are instead provided with a meal as compensation, or staff members attending weekend training or professional development sessions. 

Here, the Fair Work Ombudsman’s guidance is clear – If it is compulsory, then it is work. 

Employees are entitled to be paid for the time they are required to spend at any meeting or training. For those offered time in lieu, a log should be kept, to ensure these hours accrued are taken. Payment-in-kind (such as being “paid” with food or drink) is unlawful. Employees must be paid wages for all work performed. Find out more about being paid on the Paying wages page.

 

ECEC employees may also be unaware that employers are required, by law, to provide a payslip for all monies earned. Employers must give all employees a pay slip within one working day of pay-day. Employers can give employees paper or electronic pay slips, such as a link sent via email. Find out more about pay slip requirements here.

 

To read the full list of myths as “busted” by the Fair Work Ombudsman, please see here

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