Can I Be Forced to Work Overtime?

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Your employer typically can require that you work overtime because the Fair Labor Standards Act doesn't prevent employers from doing so. Therefore, you risk workplace discipline, suspension or termination if you refuse the request from your supervisor. However, companies can't require unpaid overtime, so your employer must compensate you for each extra hour worked.

FLSA Basics

  • Federal law only mandates that employers pay you at least time-and-a-half for hours worked beyond 40 in a week if you're an hourly worker. In most cases, employers don't even have to pay overtime if you work more than eight hours per day, as long as you work under 40 hours per week. Refusing an overtime request is essentially an act of insubordination, which is considered a terminable offense by many employers.

Additional Details

  • Some labor unions negotiate more limits on overtime hours through collective bargaining agreements. If your supervisor's overtime request exceeds CBA directives, you may have a right to file a grievance.

    Also, some states, particularly California, have more overtime restrictions. California workers get paid overtime for day shifts longer than eight hours. They also have the right to refuse overtime if they worked more than 72 hours the previous week.

References

  • Photo Credit Purestock/Purestock/Getty Images
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