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Unpaid Overtime: Know Your Rights

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 28 May 2019 | 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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HI,I work for a very well known charity and feel that as paid staff we are taken advantage of.We work up to 9 hour day but actually only get paid for 7 hrs a day.We very rarely get the opportunity to take our lunch break due to lack of staffing orextreme workload.Managers are supposed to take the additional unpaid hours as time off in lieu however this happens very rarely.The kicker is that as assistants we don't get the extra time we work paid or have it given back in lieu like the managers do.Several conversations have been raised regarding this and the response is that's the way its always been.But there are shops who open lesser hours meaning there hours paid are correct so us stores opening longer are penalised.Is this legal? Also there are regular occurrences of over time being paid incorrectly or not even paid at all!!What action can be taken as this is continuing to happen despite conversations with employer.
MissCKitty - 23-Apr-19 @ 12:49 PM
Hi, I wondered if I am allowed to claim overtime. I work till 5.00pm and am only paid till 5.00pm. However the other day me and my colleague ended up waiting 10 minutes as we did not know whether our colleagues were coming down or not to go home. They hadnt told us and we all normally leave together at 5.00pm.Thye hadnt told us they were stopping late or that they had a presentation to go to. I was most annoyed.
Voguegirl - 11-Apr-19 @ 1:47 PM
Ive just started work 4 on 4 off and a week in hand so at the end of the second week i got the right pay for 4 days but the next week i only got paid for 3 days as i was told the cut off day is on sunday what does this mean as im working 4 days but feel like im only getting paid for 3?
Caz - 5-Apr-19 @ 10:16 PM
Ive just started work its 4 on 4 off and a week in hand so at the end of the second week i got the right pay for 4 days but my second wage was lower as i was told the cut off day is a sunday so i only got paid for 3 days what does this mean as im doing 4 days work but only getting paid for 3? Thanks
Caz - 5-Apr-19 @ 10:13 PM
My working hrs have change to 36.5 from 38 p/w. Prior to this we used to come to work 10 mins early every day, unpaid. When working hrs changed we were told that we no longer have to come 10 mins early. Now they asked us to come 10 mins early for briefing in the morning. When we refused, we were told that by law we have to come early. Does the law says that we have to start 10 mins early every day and not get paid?Every month I and other colleagues have to work extra 3hrs and 20 mins without getting paid for that . Wouldnt this change my and my co-workers working hrs?
Emi - 16-Mar-19 @ 9:08 PM
My boss expects me to work 10 or 15 for freeat the end of my shift. He gives me unresonable tasks that i can't finish before home time. I told him what i can do within the time frame he don't care. So i just leave at my time regardless of what's done
chris - 7-Feb-19 @ 6:59 AM
My daughter has started working for a certain chain of stores. She is being paid minimum wage but has been told she has to work an extra half hour on the end of every shift WITHOUT PAY to help tidy the store. As she is only paid minimum wage does this break the law? If you take into account the unpaid 30 minutes she is no longer paid minimum wage. If all the 450 branches are doing this with all staff then I reckon they are underpaying their staff by a vast sum.
Martin - 26-Nov-18 @ 12:52 PM
My boss has threatened me to do over time for free or he break my legs!!! Or put me in the group!!! My boss is very big and wears suit has load of gold and tattoos over his body and face!! He has 5 body guards to protect him and they are big too..and he gets driven around London a lot!!! He big with other what I call dangerous people around London and he's not a nice guy!!! Anyway shall I do the over time for free not worth getting legs broken hey
Walter white - 21-Nov-18 @ 11:37 AM
My boss wants me to do over time but has no intentions of paying me overtime nor give it to as extra holiday..ive said no but he says if i don't do his request he has the right to sack me on the spot! I've said if does this I can report him and take him to court but he got very upset angry with with and said if I do this and he gets into trouble he will get me sorted out!!! So is is best to do the extra over time for free of take my boss to court and get poss beating!! My boss is not nice tattoos on his face where a nice suit and loads of gold and he's a big guy too and he has 5 body guards around him all the time!!
Walter - 21-Nov-18 @ 11:33 AM
My employer forced the entire workforce to take a week off with pay despite many of us willing to work now they are forcingus to pay back the hours through unpaid overtime is this legal?
Johnlee - 19-Sep-18 @ 10:10 PM
Is it right for my employer to take my lunch break out off my overtime rather than my basic pay ?
Miffy - 15-Jul-18 @ 8:02 AM
Knackered - Your Question:
I have worked since 2014 in the same job. During periods of several months we have had to do a lot of extra hours to cope with chronic high workload and understaffing. My hours for several months meant my salary worked out below minimum wage. I am not in a union and would rather report it confidentially as it affects a lot of the staff, not just me. We worked out in the first half of 2017 our pay equalled around £3.90 per hour for example. We didn't get much inlieu at all. What can I do? It is still going on now.

Our Response:
In the first place, you would have to speak to your employer directly as a way to resolve the matter. If you’re a worker and you’ve tried solving a problem or concern informally by talking to your manager but you’re not satisfied, you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing, please see link here .
WelfareAtWork - 31-May-18 @ 11:44 AM
I have worked since 2014 in the same job. During periods of several months we have had to do a lot of extra hours to cope with chronic high workload and understaffing. My hours for several months meant my salary worked out below minimum wage. I am not in a union and would rather report it confidentially as it affects a lot of the staff, not just me. We worked out in the first half of 2017 our pay equalled around £3.90 per hour for example. We didn't get much inlieu at all. What can I do? It is still going on now.
Knackered - 30-May-18 @ 8:46 AM
I work for a maintenance co servicing pubsin sw england my day genrally starts @0630 to go to a visit i arrive @0830 i can have multipule jobs any day and i leave site @1730 i get home arround1930 which is a 13hr dayi do not get paid for the first hourand do not get paid from when i leave site@1730 less a 20min break so i will get paid9hrs 40mins i drive a firms van carry my own tools and equipment on a paye basis is this legal not to get paid from site @1730or for the drive from home in morningi usually get paid a 40hr week with around 5 or 6 hrs overtime @1.5 but i am in there vehicle for about 60 to 65 hrs
Jackhammer - 20-May-18 @ 5:23 PM
ashaali1926 - Your Question:
I have had an email from work to say I have been overpaid for the last 4 months and they will let me know what I have to pay back when they hear back from payroll. In the meantime I did overtime this month which they normally pay but this months has not been paid. Can they refuse the overtime due to me being overpaid?

Our Response:
An investigation should take place and if it is found you have been overpaid you employer should seek to agree the repayment over a period of time. Prior to this, your employer would have to give you enough notice to make arrangements for the decrease in salary. Your employer cannot make deductions from your wages, or withhold money owed without your consent. You can see more via the Acas link here . You may wish to speak to your employer directly regarding this matter.
WelfareAtWork - 30-Apr-18 @ 11:29 AM
I have had an email from work to say I have been overpaid for the last 4 months and they will let me know what I have to pay back when they hear back from payroll. In the meantime I did overtime this month which they normally pay but this months has not been paid. Can they refuse the overtime due to me being overpaid?
ashaali1926 - 29-Apr-18 @ 1:00 PM
If we have staff meetings and my boss doesn't give us time back or pay us for it is this right
Stac - 25-Apr-18 @ 6:56 PM
Aakash - Your Question:
I worked 65 to 70 hours over time when I first started my job in January 2017 I signed into my log book the hours I was there but didn’t sign a overtime slip where do I stand a year later?Many thanks

Our Response:
You would have to take this up with your employer directly.
WelfareAtWork - 9-Apr-18 @ 12:14 PM
I worked 65 to 70 hours over time when I first started my job in January 2017 I signed into my log book the hours I was there but didn’t sign a overtime slip where do I stand a year later? Many thanks
Aakash - 7-Apr-18 @ 1:05 AM
I worked 50hours a week for for years and was not going on lunch.now labour stepped in I am going to work 9 hours but how do I claimthe overtime money that was not given to me??
Pops - 16-Mar-18 @ 6:26 PM
I work 40 hours a week but we don’t get paid overtime until over 45hours week so I working 5hours week for free can they do this?
G - 23-Feb-18 @ 11:03 AM
Hi there, I have worked in a residential care home for almost two years now. I am on minimum wage and my hours are 7.30 - 2.30. Over the last six months or so, my boss has demanded that we work until at least half past three - sometimes until 6 o'clock if we're on training courses but we only get paid until 2.30. Am I legally obliged to work these hours unpaid?
Carly - 13-Feb-18 @ 6:37 PM
I was injured at work. The weeks I had off I chose to receive pay and work off in overtime later (backwards time off in lieu, in effect). However I get time and half for overtime, yet it only accounted for time as usual when working it off. Is this legal? Thanks!
Keith - 13-Feb-18 @ 9:07 AM
I was dismissed by my last employers just days short of completing my probation because I dared to question their incompetence. I had no support from my deputy manager or senior management and did not have an administrator. Obviously I worked extra hours to ensure jobs were completed and the project ran smoothly. Due to family issues I took more leave than pro rata. The company now say that I owe them money for overpaid leave. As I worked extra hours I have asked them to deduct this from the total and I will pay the balance. They now do not pay overtime, but give time off in lieu. They now say they do not owe anything as they did not authorise extra hours. Many times I have raised my workload, lack of support and extra hours with them to no avail. I am not getting much support from my union.
Lizzy - 13-Jan-18 @ 6:35 PM
I work as cleaner on minimum wage recently my boss said my cleaning was not up to standard and made me work three hours extra unpaid until it was to her standard is this legal
Jules - 26-Dec-17 @ 6:29 AM
@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
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
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
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
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