No more daylight saving—does your payroll change with the clocks?

Daylight savings time ends on the first Sunday in April. In 2024, that’s April seventh. Here’s how to make sure you, your employees, and your payroll are prepared.

First published on Wednesday, Apr 03, 2024

Last updated on Wednesday, Apr 03, 2024

3 min read

This year, the clocks are going backward on Sunday 7 April at 3 am.

And for employers, that step back can mean more than just an extra hour of sleep. Especially for the employers who have employees working night shifts.

If you’re one of them, you probably have questions about how to manage staff hours and wages.


  • Does daylight saving time mean your staff must work one less hour?
  • Do you need to pay them for a full shift regardless of them working one less hour?
  • Can you legally ask them to work an extra hour?

Let’s get into those answers. But first...

Who follows daylight saving time in Australia?

Different states and territories have different approaches to daylight savings.

Clocks will be going back in:

  • The Australian Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria

Leaving out Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory that don’t follow daylight saving time.

How do you decide your employees’ working hours?

When it comes to nailing down how long your shifts need to be as daylight savings ends, you and your employees need to stick by the relevant award or registered agreement.

These will guide how you need to pay your employees for the time they’re working when the clocks shift.

If the modern award or registered agreement your employees fall under doesn’t make allowances for daylight saving changes, then you need to take it by the clock.

Here’s an example of how ‘by the clock’ works

Let’s say your employee Lachlan works 8 hours from 10 pm to 6 am on weekends.

The award they’re under doesn’t mention daylight savings or what an employee may be entitled to when the clocks shift.

When Lachlan is working on the Sunday that daylight savings ends, the clock goes backwards, and they end up working a 9-hour shift to 6 am instead of their usual 8 hours.

Because you’re paying them ‘by the clock’ you will still pay Lachlan for their full shift of 8 hours.

If Darren is still working with you in the same role when daylight savings begins and the clock goes forward an hour in October, they’ll end up working 7 hours to 6 am. But he’ll still be paid by the clock and get 8 hours’ worth of pay.

You can make sure your employees are paid the right amount and are logging the right hours with our easy-to-use clocking-in app and payroll navigator.

So, do you need to pay your employees extra?

Daylight savings starts on a Sunday, and sometimes also kicks off on a public holiday. This means that most workers who are on the clock at this time will get paid the Sunday or public holiday penalty rates that they’re already entitled to.

These penalty rates will also be calculated and paid by the clock unless their award or agreement gives them different entitlements.

Keep your staff informed

Remember to keep your employees up to date on how daylight savings may impact their working hours.

This will cut down on the number of employees showing up late, payroll confusion, or just questions about what your policies are when it comes to your working hours.

Stay on top of your obligations

Navigating the awards system can be confusing, and daylight savings doesn’t make it easier. Especially if you have employees based in different states and territories working in different time zones.

That’s why BrightAdvice is here to help. Our team of employment relations experts work round the clock (with or without daylight savings) to help you stay on top of employment laws.
So, if you do have questions or a particularly tricky situation on your hands—our 24/7 phone helpline has your back.

Don’t feel like reaching for the phone? Ask BrightLightning your questions.

What is daylight saving?

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is the practice of advancing clocks one hour during the warmer months of the year.

According to the Salt Industry Award, what are the provisions around daylight saving?

For work performed on a shift that spans the time when daylight saving begins or ends, as prescribed by relevant state or territory legislation, an employee will be paid according to adjusted time (i.e. the time on the clock at the beginning of work and the time on the clock at the end of work).

What is wage theft?

In some Australian States, the deliberate underpayment of an employee’s wages and entitlements is a criminal offence. This may be included in the definition of stealing offences, or be called ‘wage theft’.

The federal government took steps to legislate in order to criminalise wage theft at a national level in December 2023.

When do penalty rates apply?

Penalty rates are higher rates of pay that employees are entitled to for working particular days or hours, usually at times that are less convenient, such as weekends or early morning/late night shifts. These rates are determined by an employee's industry award or agreement and are a different entitlement than overtime.

For further information on this matter, please call our Advice line.

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