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Unpaid Overtime: Know Your Rights

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 15 Dec 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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Minty - Your Question:
Is it fair that the company I work for tell us we have to book all our holidays by November but in our contract it says January to December and then when everybody has had all there holidays say if you work a Saturday which is overtime then you can have boxing day of with normal pay and then refuse people who have holidays left that then can not have boxing day of

Our Response:
Your employer would have to stick to the terms and conditions of your employment contract. Anything outside of this is a breach of contract, which you can try to resolve with your employer directly. If your employer ignores you, then you can raise a grievance, please see link here.
WelfareAtWork - 15-Dec-17 @ 3:44 PM
Is it fair that the company I work for tell us we have to book all our holidays by November but in our contract it says January to December and then when everybody has had all there holidays say if you work a Saturday which is overtime then you can have boxing day of with normal pay and then refuse people who have holidays left that then can not have boxing day of
Minty - 15-Dec-17 @ 2:45 PM
ExhaustedinUK - Your Question:
I took on a Christmas job for a famous department store. We are required to work well beyond our contractual pay - to arrive at least 15 minutes early every day and not leave until all our work is finished, including extraordinary admin, while we have to meet targets during working hours. This includes working nights, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. We must also dress in business attire.The pay rate for over 25s is £8.50 per hour, and we are paid for a 37.5 hour week. Days off are not consecutive, and my rota has me working 7 consecutive days without a day off. We are only allowed one break per day of between 1/2 an hour and an hour, although with the workload we are often forced to work during our lunch hours and are not allowed to bring food or personal effects into our work area.This means some of us are working 48 to 60 hours per week, for gross pay of around £320. We do not get paid weekly, but a full month in arrears.

Our Response:
Firstly, you would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract which will outline your breaktimes and working hours. Employers don’t have to pay workers for overtime. However, employees’ average pay for the total hours worked must not fall below the National Minimum Wage. If you can prove it has, then you can claim back pay. With regards to break times, by law you are allowed one 20 minute break for every six hours you work. If you do not receive your break, then your employer should award you a compensatory break as near to your allotted time as possible. If your employer is not working within the times of the contract (you agreed to by signing), then you should take this up with your employer. Likewise, with overtime you should take this up with your employer directly or collectively with the other employees if you feel you are being unfairly treated. In the meantime, you may wish to give ACAS a call in order to see whether your employer is working within the European Working Time Directive guidelines and to see whether you have recourse to complain.
WelfareAtWork - 11-Dec-17 @ 12:00 PM
I took on a Christmas job for a famous department store.We are required to work well beyond our contractual pay - to arrive at least 15 minutes early every day and not leave until all our work is finished, including extraordinary admin, while we have to meet targets during working hours.This includes working nights, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.We must also dress in business attire. The pay rate for over 25s is £8.50 per hour, and we are paid for a 37.5 hour week.Days off are not consecutive, and my rota has me working 7 consecutive days without a day off.We are only allowed one break per day of between 1/2 an hour and an hour, although with the workload we are often forced to work during our lunch hours and are not allowed to bring foodor personal effects into our work area. This means some of us are working 48 to 60 hours per week, for gross pay of around £320.We do not get paid weekly, but a full month in arrears.
ExhaustedinUK - 9-Dec-17 @ 9:33 PM
@SEB - this sounds like a bit of a precarious job and a precarious employer. Most workers who work a 5-day week must receive at least 28 days’ paid annual leave per year. This is the equivalent of 5.6 weeks of holiday. Part-time workers get less paid holiday than full-time workers. They’re entitled to at least 5.6 weeks of paid holiday but this amounts to fewer than 28 days because they work fewer hours per week. I'd be looking for another job. Your employer sounds unreliable to say the least.
Richie - 7-Dec-17 @ 3:39 PM
Hi, I started a job in March this year, the employer hasn't given me a contract and avoids the question whenever I bring it up.I've had a number of issues during this employment that I've not brought up with them because without a contract I'm worried they will just fire me. From March - August my employer has paid me less than minimum wage (£5.00 per hour) and was originally giving me cash in hand (which I told him I was uncomfortable with) They have recently started paying me minimum wage into the bank, I also now receive a payslip.The biggest issue I now have is since March I have not been able to book any days holiday without having to work extra hours to cover the days/hours I want off, if I don't work extra hours they won't pay me for any holidays I take. I work 25 hours a week and have taken 4 days holiday since March all of which I worked extra hours to make up the money I would have lost. I know I am entitled to holidays, I just don't know how to approach my employer about it. I need the job as I've just bought a house and need to pay my mortgage...
SEB - 7-Dec-17 @ 6:27 AM
Slave or not a slave - Your Question:
Hey, I don't want to give anything away like my boss or where I work so I'll stay as simple as I can. Is it illegal for a boss to bank hours and then months later say you owe them 9 hours and make you work those 9 hours doing g a job they're too cheap to pay for such as painting a warehouse or other jobs that aren't in your job description like cleaning toilets. Even though that same boss said they'd pay you full all those times no bother, they sent you home early out of their own choice and wouldn't take no for an answer and when you've asked for overtime and they refused even though it was very busy. Then when they're told we don't want to paint the floor, say "then you'll get a -9 payslip". Are they taking liberties?

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your contract to see whether your employer is allowed to do this. It is an unusual situation. As a rule, if you are contracted to do 15 hours per week and your employer has no work on and you are sent home early, then you should still be paid for those 15 hours regardless of whether you have worked them or not. If you work 15 hours and work is slack, your employer should be able to ask you to do something else as part of your job requirement (if your contract says your employer can do this). However, if you are contracted to do 15 hours per week and there is no work and send you home, it is unlikely your employer would be able to legally bank those hours for the following week and add them to your 15 hour contract. In this case you would have to read your contract first and then give ACAS a call to see whether your employer is working within the European Working Time Directive guidelines.
WelfareAtWork - 4-Dec-17 @ 10:16 AM
Hey, I don't want to give anything away like my boss or where I work so I'll stay as simple as I can. Is it illegal for a boss to bank hours and then months later say you owe them 9 hours and make you work those 9 hours doing g a job they're too cheap to pay for such as painting a warehouse or other jobs that aren't in your job description like cleaning toilets. Even though that same boss said they'd pay you full all those times no bother, they sent you home early out of their own choice and wouldn't take no for an answer and when you've asked for overtime and they refused even though it was very busy. Then when they're told we don't want to paint the floor, say "then you'll get a -9 payslip" . Are they taking liberties?
Slave or not a slave - 3-Dec-17 @ 1:34 AM
Jj - Your Question:
If I work over time say I already have 40 hours that month and I have a day off sick is it right my work does not pay me for the day I have off sick and take 8 hours out of my over time aswell so potentially iv lost 16 hours of work

Our Response:
You would have to look at the terms and conditions of your employment contract which will tell you if you get paid for sickness days. Your employer shouldn't restrict your overtime pay. You may have to take the matter up with your employer directly. If your employer does not pay you the money owed and you are considered an employee and not self-employed, then give ACAS a call.
WelfareAtWork - 28-Nov-17 @ 1:56 PM
If I work over time say I already have 40 hours that monthand I have a day off sick is it right my work does not pay me for the day I have off sick and take 8 hours out of my over time aswell so potentially iv lost 16 hours of work
Jj - 27-Nov-17 @ 6:16 PM
None - Your Question:
I work for a transport company. I work well over 45 hours per week with no extra pay Monday to Friday. If I book a Friday off as a holiday when I’ve already done 48 hours Monday to Thursday is this right?

Our Response:
Much depends upon the terms and conditions of your contract. You would have to negotiate this directly with your supervisor/manager.
WelfareAtWork - 17-Nov-17 @ 1:47 PM
I work for a transport company. I work well over 45 hours per week with no extra pay Monday to Friday. If I book a Friday off as a holiday when I’ve already done 48 hours Monday to Thursday is this right?
None - 14-Nov-17 @ 7:19 PM
My employer wants us to leave our machines running when we go for our unpaid half hour tea break .so because of this when we return to work we have to work twice as hard to catch up with the machines and check what they have produced .is this legal ?
Parr - 29-Oct-17 @ 8:17 PM
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
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