Qantas’ plan for “Variable full-time” jobs – the devil is in the detail! And it isn’t looking good…

Qantas has confirmed to the ASU that it is proposing to introduce a new employment category called “variable full-time hours”.

So what is Qantas proposing?

Under a variable full-time position, Qantas proposes that it can:
  1. Roster you for up to 12 hours at a single rate. Overtime would only kick in once you work past your rostered hours.
  2. Arrange those hours in any manner that suits them, i.e., 11 hours on 1 day and 4 hours on the next.
  3. Unbalance your roster! The airline’s proposal would have you working a 76 hour fortnight but the Airline would be able to frontload your shifts. For example, one week, you may work 45 hours at a single rate and the second week, you would work 31 hours.  
Importantly, Qantas has confirmed that it will not guarantee any new full-time jobs as part of this proposal!

Shift swaps will become even more difficult for all

Under Qantas’ proposal, you will struggle to swap shifts.
  1. If you are a ‘variable full-time’ employee, you won’t be able to shift swap out your 9, 10, 11 or 12 hour shifts to a traditional full-time employee or any part-time employees (because it would trigger overtime for those employees).
  2. If you are a ‘traditional full-time’ employee or a part time employee, you will have even fewer people to shift swap with – because the roster will be full of shifts longer than 8 hours and you won’t be able to swap into any of them (because overtime would be triggered).

Qantas will phase out traditional full-time roles, 20th days and overtime is at risk

The Airline has made it clear that all new full-time roles would be ‘variable full-time’ positions, and any full-time vacancies would be filled with a ‘variable full-time’ employee, meaning that a normal 8-hour day will soon disappear. Under your current entitlements, a full-time employee is entitled to overtime once they work their 8-hour shift. You will remain under your current arrangement if you are currently employed as a traditional full-time (8-hour shift) employee.

If you became a ‘variable full-time’, you would no longer be entitled to 20th days off.

With Qantas proposing having the ability to roster up to 12 hours at single rates, they will be able to cover a large portion of shifts at single rates that would usually be covered by overtime. A full 12-hour shift on a Saturday would decrease the amount of work available for others.

Your rosters will be even more unpredictable

Qantas is only committing to provide seven days of a roster publication for all workers. With only a 7-day roster view, it means that in one week, you may be working up to 12 hours at single rates (with even less ability to shift swap!) at any time the Airline allocates. Even with Qantas publishing a 7-day roster, the Airline still believes it has the right to change your shift at -3 days or more.

Constantly changing shifts is fatiguing

Qantas claims that it assesses your rosters via a program that evaluates fatigue. It is alarming that the assessment happens at the time of roster publishing and does not consider all the changes in the rosters that Workforce Planning makes at -7. Qantas having the ability to change the roster post-publish leaves employees exposed to a greater fatigue risk.


What we stand for is clear. We are campaigning for the following:
  1. Rosters published at least 4 weeks in advance;
  2. No changes to your roster at -7 days without agreement. You have the right to organise your life and not worry about the constant changes to your shifts;
  3. Two part-time roster groups. The first group would have a preference for minimum hours, and Qantas would roster you as such, and the second group would be those who prefer shift extensions and additional hours. Our claim is designed to provide certainty for those that want minimum hours and to facilitate more hours for others;
  4. Enshrining protections around NIL 48. You should receive a penalty for any Qantas-initiated changes at -48 hours;
  5. Increasing minimum hours for part-time employees to 25 hours per port.
You can help our campaign by forwarding this email to your colleagues and asking them to join the ASU by visiting If you require any support or additional information, please contact your local ASU delegates or ASU organiser at:

Above: Qantas Airport