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Unpaid Overtime: Know Your Rights

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 12 Oct 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Unpaid Overtime: Know Your Rights

Some jobs are more likely to include overtime than others and is counted as any work that goes beyond the contracted hours. Sometimes people like having the opportunity to do overtime work to boost their earnings but it can also be an unwelcome extra. If you are having to work overtime then your employer cannot make you work over 48 hours a week and must comply with whatever is written in your contract.

Overtime Pay

Unfortunately there is nothing to say that overtime hours have to be paid or if they are, at what rate. However, when you take into account your pay and the hours that you work, your hourly rate must not fall below national minimum wage. The same is true for working bank holidays or weekends. Although most employers will pay more when you work these days, there is no legal requirement to do so. If there is something written in your contract about being paid for your overtime hours then your employer must stick by it.

Contracts

The contract that you sign when you join the company should include details of how your employer treats overtime so make sure you read it thoroughly when you join. You are bound to comply with the terms but then so is your employer and you can’t be forced to work beyond what it states. If it says that you will be paid for your overtime then you must be and even it if it says you must work overtime, they often can’t make you work over 48 hours per week unless you choose to.

Overtime & Time Off

Instead of paying for any overtime that you work, some employers will decide to give you time off in lieu instead. This is an agreement between you and you employer and while they may have regulations about it, it may also be decided on an individual basis. When calculating holiday entitlement or maternity leave, any overtime hours are not usually taken into account. It is taken into account though if you are required to work overtime and as part of your contract.

How Much Overtime?

Your contract of employment should lay out what you working hours and conditions are. If overtime is required as part of your role then it must state this in your contract and these terms must be complied with. Your employer generally can’t make you work more than 48 hours a week and sometimes this still applies even if you agreed to overtime in your contract. For those workers who want to work overtime to top up their pay cheque, their employers are not required to give it to them unless it is guaranteed in their contract.

Many jobs include overtime and although some of this is paid, a lot of it is not. Unfortunately, unless it says in your contract, then your employer is not legally required to pay you for overtime. Often they will but you must find out what there policy is. If you do work overtime then your average hourly rate must still not fall below minimum wage and your employer cannot make you work over 48 hours a week unless you choose to do so.

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My partner works as a hotel night deputy manager, he is contracted to 45 hours/ week and is salary paid.Recently his boss who does the rotas has been putting my partner down for extra shifts, for the whole of September he's being doing 7 - 9 nights straight with one night off in between, so works out to one night off a fortnight. He's doing at least 20 hours over his contract whilst his boss only does around 36 a week (they are both on 45 hour salary contracts). In addition he has been told this morning that there is a mistake on his contract and he's being paid £2000 too much on his annual salary. He has only been doing this job 2 months and signed the contract at the beginning of September.What can we do?
AC - 12-Oct-17 @ 9:16 AM
Hi, I have a few scenarios, if I may.My contract states the following: "You may be required to work additional hours if business needs require this without additional renumeration" "No additional payment will be made in respect of hours worked in excess of the standard hours" I am generally happy with this - I understand the need of it - and to be honest I tend to put in additional hours anyways.That said, could you provide thoughts on the below (I am a permanent worker who gets contracted out): Scenario A: Client project requires 5 days effort My employer charges them for 5 days Work (carried out by me) ends up taking 5 days + an additional couple of hours a day No problem with this at all - sometimes things take longer than expected Scenario B: Client project requires 7 days effort My employer charges them for 5 days Work (carried out by me) ends up taking 7 days (2 days covered by my own time) This I have a problem with - the project hasnt been charged as it should have been, and I am the one who suffers Scenario C: Client project requires 5 full working days + 2.5 hours each evening of those 5 days My employer charges them 5 days + 12.5 hours @ double rate Employer then expects me to do all this work, but only get paid for the 5 days (I do not get paid for evening work) This I have a major problem with - seems like slave labour, especially as my employer is actually charging additional for out of hours work, and taking all of it Scenario D: Same as C, expect client not charged for 12.5 hours evening work Actually a mix of B and D? Thanks in advance! Cheers,
DM - 4-Oct-17 @ 11:29 AM
Hi, I am contracted an hours overtime per day which makes up 1/8 of my total salary. There are rumours this is going to be taken away.Is this legal?
Daisy - 29-Sep-17 @ 9:04 PM
Snowhite- Your Question:
I work I retail on the delivery is it right that my manger can keep me for extra 2 hours unpaid when I start 6.30 and finish at 10.30 plus it not in my contact

Our Response:
You would have to speak to your manager directly. If unpaid overtime is not listed as being part of the terms and conditions of your contract, then you can refuse to work outside the outlined terms. However, if your employer takes disciplinary action and dismisses you refuse, then you would not be able to use a tribunal to claim unfair dismissal until you have worked for your employer for longer than two years. Mutual discussion and negotiation is best in this situation.
WelfareAtWork - 28-Sep-17 @ 11:15 AM
I work I retail on the delivery is it right that my manger can keep me for extra 2 hours unpaid when I start 6.30 and finish at 10.30 plus it not in my contact
Snowhite - 27-Sep-17 @ 1:18 PM
Lazybones - Your Question:
Hi I work at cinama world on a zero hour contract. We have to stay behind for 2 hours sometimes to clean up. This is not paid. Sometimes it's 2 in a morning when o should of finished at 12 midnight. Is this right

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract. If it says you have to stay behind to clear up and by default your wage falls under the rate of the national minimum wage for your age because of the extra unpaid hours you work, then this is not legal. You may wish to give ACAS a call to explore your options.
WelfareAtWork - 26-Sep-17 @ 4:09 PM
Hi I work at cinama world on a zero hour contract. We have to stay behind for 2 hours sometimes to clean up. This is not paid. Sometimes it's 2 in a morning when o should of finished at 12 midnight. Is this right
Lazybones - 22-Sep-17 @ 10:50 PM
Blonde - Your Question:
Hi I work every shift 15 minutes extra for handover but have never been paid for it is this legal

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract to see what it says (i.e whether this time is factored into your contract as unpaid). If there is no reference to this in your contract, you would need to bring up this and question it with your employer directly.
WelfareAtWork - 5-Sep-17 @ 11:43 AM
Hi I work every shift 15 minutes extra for handover but have never been paid for it is this legal
Blonde - 4-Sep-17 @ 3:52 AM
Hi i am currantly a kitchen manager my contract is 48 hours a week i was on an 9 hour shift someone called sick so id to stay work a 17 hour shift with a 20 minute break is this illegel did i have to stay work this sick persons shift will i be paid for it
N/a - 23-Aug-17 @ 12:52 PM
My contract is 45 hrs +/- 5 hours. If I do a 62 hr week will I get paid 57hrs or 62hrs? Similarly if I worked a 26hr week will I get paid 26hrs or 31hrs?
Laura - 16-Aug-17 @ 10:50 AM
Hy there I have ine contract with 45 hours,after that is overtime.i make every week 58-60 hours and my employer don't pay me overtime,only normal hours.its normal like that? I think he must pay me 45 hours normal one after the difference must by overtime. What can I do?? Many thanks
Marius - 14-Aug-17 @ 9:42 PM
I work for a delivery company. I've worked a number of Saturdays and I've been told I will not be paid for them. In my contract it says my basic hours are 37.5 hours a week usually worked between 9am and 5:30pm Monday to Friday with a 1 hour unpaid break to be taken flexibly according to the needs of the business. It also says "there will be occasions when you are required to work additional hours to those quoted above and it is a condition of your employment that you are willing to do so when required in order to fulfil your duties for the company" Am I entitled to be paid for these extra hours? Whether it is in overtime or time in lieu?
Ben - 14-Aug-17 @ 8:43 PM
Joseph- Your Question:
Hello, I work at build a bear worshop 4 hours a week. I'm concerned because when the shop isn't very busy they'll put me on a unpaid half an hour break. Meaning I only get paid 3 1/2 hours pay. Is this legal or can I choose to have a brake or not? Regards

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract to find this out.
WelfareAtWork - 10-Aug-17 @ 2:07 PM
Hello, I work at build a bear worshop 4 hours a week. I'm concerned because when the shop isn't very busy they'll put me on a unpaid half an hour break. Meaning I only get paid 3 1/2 hours pay. Is this legal or can I choose to have a brake or not? Regards
Joseph - 9-Aug-17 @ 4:15 PM
@Carmen - yes, you may be paid a month in arrears, it's usual.
Casey - 8-Aug-17 @ 3:47 PM
I worked my normal hours last month and also did 45 hours overtime to which my company ha ent paid me saying it will be paid next month, is this allowed?
Carmen - 8-Aug-17 @ 2:23 PM
@King - that's a bit naughty. So - they are offering you a job for a higher salary, but reducing your hours and making you work extra hours for free? You should get paid for the extra hours, if you don't you will have grounds to complain. Ask your boss directly, it's the easiest way to find out. Don't sign the contract until you do, otherwise you've agreed to the terms.
Ash55 - 27-Jul-17 @ 4:02 PM
Mandy - Your Question:
Hi, I did some overtime 5 months ago and was told I would be paid for the additional hours worked. I have since changed job roles and have not yet been paid and have been told that due to the job title change I will get a day off instead of the payment which was stated. If I was told I would be paid, can this then be changed to a day off?

Our Response:
You can certainly challenge this directly with your employer and if the result is not to your satisfaction you would have to raise a grievance, please see link here .
WelfareAtWork - 27-Jul-17 @ 11:54 AM
I currently work 42.5 hours a week at 6.35 an hour (i'm 20) - but my employer has given me an offer letter for a new role next year. - the contract say 39 hours for a minimum wage of 7.05 - however they have also stated that i will still be working 42.5 hours a week. Should i get paid the extra 3.5 hours as working it will reduce me to below minimum wage?
King - 26-Jul-17 @ 5:01 PM
Hi, I did some overtime 5 months ago and was told I would be paid for the additional hours worked. I have since changed job roles and have not yet been paid and have been told that due to the job title change I will get a day off instead of the payment which was stated. If I was told I would be paid, can this then be changed to a day off?
Mandy - 25-Jul-17 @ 3:46 PM
C - Your Question:
I work for a small council. I always work over my paid 37 hours per week. Previously my employer could deny they knew this but now I complete weekly time sheets showing exactly how many hours I work. My employer has not asked me to work over but the amount of tasks they expect me to complete in a week cannot be done in 37 hours. My average hourly rate nearly always falls below national minimum wage and they have never asked me to sign an agreement to work over 48 hours per week (which I nearly always do)What can I do? I fear if I raise the issue they will eradicate my role.

Our Response:
If your employer has not requested you work unpaid overtime, then you cannot use the fact your minimum wage falls below average because the work you are doing is carried out voluntarily. Your only option would be to raise the issue informally to your line manager and then via a grievance if you are dissatisfied with the response, please see link here. You don't say whether other workers in your department feel the same. If so, you may wish to complain together. Contacting UNISON may also be an option. I don't think you are the only council worker to feel under tremendous pressure because of government cutbacks, but unless you try to resolve the issues, then the issues cannot be addressed. You cannot be dismissed for making a complaint.
WelfareAtWork - 24-Jul-17 @ 12:09 PM
I work for a small council.I always work over my paid 37 hours per week. Previously my employer could deny they knew this but now I complete weekly time sheets showing exactly how many hours I work. My employer has not asked me to work over but the amount of tasks they expect me to complete in a week cannot be done in 37 hours. My average hourly rate nearly always falls below national minimum wage and they have never asked me to sign an agreement to work over 48 hours per week (which I nearly always do) What can I do? I fear if I raise the issue they will eradicate my role.
C - 21-Jul-17 @ 10:19 PM
Jdog - Your Question:
An acquaintance of my son owns a car delivery company and asked me if at any time he was short of a driver would I help him out. I agreed and started doing a few hours a week, then a few days a week and now full time. My personal position at the moment mess the gig economy works best for me. There is no contract but the wage structure is £7 per hour up to a maximum of £80 per day. This is fine if you only do up to 12 hours a day but I regularly work 14, 16, 18+ hour days. After 11.5 hours the pay stops and all work from then is unpaid. If I am south of London when my 12 hours is complete I still have to drive back to Yorkshire. Some days I don't get home until 10 pm and out at 6am the following day.There is no contract and only work when cars are available. I do full time as I a specialist driver and required to drive minimum of 500 miles a day. Is this legal for the employer to work you these hours without pay?

Our Response:
Most people who work are entitled to get paid at least the National Minimum Wage. This includes casual workers, people on zero hours contracts and agency workers, please see CAB link here .
WelfareAtWork - 13-Jul-17 @ 9:58 AM
An acquaintance of my son owns a car delivery company and asked me if at any time he was short of a driver would I help him out. I agreed and started doing a few hours a week, then a few days a week and now full time. My personal position at the moment mess the gig economy works best for me. There is no contract but the wage structure is £7 per hour up to a maximum of £80 per day. This is fine if you only do up to 12 hours a day but I regularly work 14, 16, 18+ hour days. After 11.5 hours the pay stops and all work from then is unpaid. If I am south of London when my 12 hours is complete I still have to drive back to Yorkshire. Some days I don't get home until 10 pm and out at 6am the following day. There is no contract and only work when cars are available. I do full time as I a specialist driver and required to drive minimum of 500 miles a day. Is this legal for the employer to work you these hours without pay?
Jdog - 11-Jul-17 @ 11:58 AM
Kerry - Your Question:
HiI have worked for the same company for four years and have a contact that says I get double time for bank holidays and no hoilday taken away now that want us to sign a new one saying we can have double time but will take a days holiday or normal time with no hoilday taken away if we don't agree we get sacked can they do this please

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether there is a clause in your contract that says your employer can change the terms of your contract. If after reading the terms of your original contract and you are still unsure, you can ask ACAS who will be able to advise further, please see link here.
WelfareAtWork - 3-Jul-17 @ 2:07 PM
Hi I have worked for the same company for four years and have a contact that says I get double time for bank holidays and no hoilday taken away now that want us to sign a new one saying we can have double time but will take a days holidayor normal time with no hoilday taken awayif we don't agree we get sacked can they do this please
Kerry - 1-Jul-17 @ 12:07 AM
I'm a teacher at a private nursery- the nursery are increasingly asking me to attend team meetings, training sessions and Saturday family events. Some of this we gain time back for, however a lot of the time this is not the case and we aren't paid for it. I have checked my contract and it states 'you must work flexibly and undertake such hours as are necessary to enable work to be completed. You will make yourself available for work outside normal hours and you will also attend staff meetings, open days and find raising events outside working hours when required by the company' nowhere does it mention whether time back or pay a part of the contract. Do I have a leg to stand on complaining about these additional hours on top of my 40 hour week? Thanks Dannielle
Dannielle - 21-Jun-17 @ 10:09 PM
Le-le - Your Question:
My employer has recently introduced a new wage system. This means we only get paid until the time we are listed to work on tje rota even though our mandatory tasks take several more hours to complete. For example I was made to clock out at 12:30 but.was made to work until 2 unpaid in order to complete the closing checklist. The 30 minutes allowed to close the business is nowhere near enough time to complete the tasks especially since customers.are only asked to leave at 12:20. What are my rights in this situation?

Our Response:
You would need to read the terms and conditions of your contract. Much depends upon whether you have signed a new contract agreeing to this, or whether this is in conflict with your existing contract agreement. If so your employer will be in breach. In the first instance, I suggest you read your contract and give ACAS a call in order to explore your options and rights. I assume you are not the only one affected? You don't say whether other employees are having to do this, as you could make a staff complaint. If you’re not satisfied, you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing, please see link here.
WelfareAtWork - 13-Jun-17 @ 10:18 AM
My employer has recently introduced a new wage system. This means we only get paid until the time we are listed to work on tje rota even though our mandatory tasks take several more hours to complete. For example i was made to clock out at 12:30 but.was made to work until 2 unpaid in order to complete the closing checklist. The 30 minutes allowed to close the business is nowhere near enough time to complete the tasks especially since customers.are only asked to leave at 12:20. What are my rights in this situation?
Le-le - 12-Jun-17 @ 8:48 AM
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