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Unpaid Overtime: Know Your Rights

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 15 Jul 2018 | 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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Macy - Your Question:
Hi my contract is for 10 hrs a week I was expecting to be paid 80 hours of overtime after my 12 week period. My employer has changed it's mind now and say they won't be paying the overtime but that it will be banked and used to off set any payment to me if they do not require me to work. Can they do this ??? As they have always paid me ??? If they do not require me will I lose out financially????

Our Response:
Much depends upon what your contract says about working overtime. If your contract states overtime is paid, then your employer must stick to the terms. In other words, your employer cannot change your contract unless you agree, please see link here . If there is nothing in your contract regarding this, then there is also something called 'implied terms' which if your employer has paid overtime previously in a certain way, then they may be obliged to continue, please see link here .In this case, you may wish to speak to Acas. I advise you read the terms of your contract before you do.
WelfareAtWork - 16-Jul-18 @ 11:06 AM
Miffy - Your Question:
Is it right for my employer to take my lunch break out off my overtime rather than my basic pay ?

Our Response:
Much depends upon what it says in the terms and the conditions of your employment contract. You would need to speak to your employer directly to see why this might have happened if it is not usual practice. The information you have given is too sparse to answer fully.
WelfareAtWork - 16-Jul-18 @ 9:34 AM
Hi my contract is for 10 hrs a week I was expectingto be paid 80 hours of overtime after my 12 week period. My employer has changed it's mind now and say they won't be paying the overtime but that it will be banked and used to off set any payment to me if they do not require me to work. Can they do this ??? As they have always paid me ??? If they do not require me will I lose out financially????
Macy - 15-Jul-18 @ 3:33 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
Worker - Your Question:
Hi,I work as a manager in a company and hold at least two offices for more than 3 years. My contract says, 40 Hours per week. My contract also says that "you may be asked to work additional hours beyond your normal hours and it's a condition of this employment."My question is, can my company ask / compel me to work 2 hours extra every day (after doing my normal managerial role) as a production operative working on a production line? while my contract clearly says my job title is a manager.Please advise.

Our Response:
If you are unahhpy about this and it does not keep to the terms of your contract, then you can try to solve the issue informally, or raise a grievance. Please see the link here.
WelfareAtWork - 18-Jun-18 @ 3:13 PM
Hi, I work as a manager in a company and hold at least two offices for more than 3 years. My contract says, 40 Hours per week. My contract also says that "you may be asked to work additional hours beyond your normal hours and it's a condition of this employment." My question is, can my company ask / compel me to work 2 hours extra every day (after doing my normal managerial role) as a production operative working on a production line? while my contract clearly says my job title is a manager. Please advise.
Worker - 15-Jun-18 @ 10:14 PM
Arsenal - Your Question:
My work makes us work overtime on a daily basis as it’s written in our contracts and sometimes it can put our min hourly rate under min wage but they say it’s works out over a 17 weeks period is this correct

Our Response:
I think in this case you may wish to give Acas a call, in order to properly establish whether your employer is underpaying you or not. You can see more via the link here .
WelfareAtWork - 1-Jun-18 @ 12:23 PM
My work makes us work overtime on a daily basis as it’s written in our contracts and sometimes it can put our min hourly rate under min wage but they say it’s works out over a 17 weeks period is this correct
Arsenal - 31-May-18 @ 7:39 PM
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
Jackhammer - Your Question:
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 day I do not get paid for the first hour and do not get paid from when I leave site@1730 less a 20min break so I will get paid 9hrs 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 @1730 or for the drive from home in morning I 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

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract and what you have agreed to.
WelfareAtWork - 21-May-18 @ 3:00 PM
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
ukcuri - Your Question:
Im working permanent at a new company and in my contract it says that I don't have to work on bank holidays and ect, I asked if I would get compensation for working on this bank holiday and they said yes after a while of getting them to reply back to me via email. They tell me I have a fixed yearly wage of a few thousand a year that I know of but they have been reluctant to give me an hourly rate calculated by them when I ask, I can understand how it breaks down over 12 months with tax but as I do not have consistent shifts I need to know an hourly rate so that I can work out how much I should get extra via overtime compensation and when im under/over working compared to my pay. They also said that any overtime I work is paid quarterly so every 3 months? I do not think this is fair but Im not sure what I can do? any assistance and advice would be appreciated.

Our Response:
If you wish to know your hourly rate you should ask your employer directly. Your employer should give you this information.
WelfareAtWork - 11-May-18 @ 2:03 PM
Im working permanent at a new company and in my contract it says that I don't have to work on bank holidays and ect, I asked if i would get compensation for working on this bank holiday and they said yes after a while of getting them to reply back to me via email. They tell me I have a fixed yearly wage of a few thousand a year that i know of but they have been reluctant to give me an hourly rate calculated by them when I ask, I can understand how it breaks down over 12 months with tax but as I do not have consistent shifts I need to know an hourly rate so that I can work out how much I should get extra via overtime compensation and when im under/over working compared to my pay. They also said that any overtime I work is paid quarterly so every 3 months? I do not think this is fair but Im not sure what I can do? any assistance and advice would be appreciated.
ukcuri - 8-May-18 @ 3:12 PM
My friend is demanded to work unpaid overtime after the shift. The contract has no mentioning that she is obligated to do so expect stock take and staff meetings. How to proceed with the company enforcing daily overtime that she is not required to do?
******* - 3-May-18 @ 6:58 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
Stac - Your Question:
If we have staff meetings and my boss doesn't give us time back or pay us for it is this right

Our Response:
Much depends upon what is laid out in the terms and conditions of your employment contract. If your contract states that after-work meetings are unpaid, then your employer does not have to pay you for them.
WelfareAtWork - 26-Apr-18 @ 12:21 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
Js- Your Question:
Hi, my contract hours for truck driving are 55hours Monday to Friday 10.5 a day , with a section in contract that says additional hours maybe required to complete duties , but as a driver I’m being sent to a job at the end of the day that will take me beyond my 10.5 day so I will be doing more hours for no pay, is this aloud and should I question it!I get no extra for getting back late and I feel governed by the office as to what time I finish and can’t plan anything getting home ?? Any help would be greatThank you

Our Response:
Much depends upon whether your employer is deemed to be taking liberties or not. If you think your employer is taking advantage of the clause regarding 'completing duties' by sending you on new work, then you can raise a grievance, please see link here .
WelfareAtWork - 12-Apr-18 @ 3:13 PM
Hi, my contract hours for truck driving are 55hours Monday to Friday 10.5 a day , with a section in contract that says additional hours maybe required to complete duties , but as a driver I’m being sent to a job at the end of the day that will take me beyond my 10.5 day so i will be doing more hours for no pay, is this aloud and should I question it! I get no extra for getting back late and I feel governed by the office as to what time I finish and can’t plan anything getting home ?? Any help would be great Thank you
Js - 10-Apr-18 @ 7:58 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
Jessica- Your Question:
I am contracted for 37.5 hours per week. We start 15mins early and often leave late making it well over an 7.5 hour day. We often get frowned upon for lunch breaks and eat at the desk whilst working. When we work away we work 50-60 hour weeks. Salaried so no difference in overtime pay. Where do I stand?

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract to see what you have agreed to.
WelfareAtWork - 6-Apr-18 @ 11:50 AM
I am contracted for 37.5 hours per week. We start 15mins early and often leave late making it well over an 7.5 hour day. We often get frowned upon for lunch breaks and eat at the desk whilst working. When we work away we work 50-60 hour weeks. Salaried so no difference in overtime pay. Where do I stand?
Jessica - 5-Apr-18 @ 7:10 PM
Pops - Your Question:
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 claim the overtime money that was not given to me??

Our Response:
Much depends whether overtime was classed as paid or unpaid. You would have to refer to the terms and conditions in your employment contract to see whether you are owed any money. If you think you are, you may wish to speak to your employer directly.
WelfareAtWork - 20-Mar-18 @ 12:40 PM
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
Hi, I am 17 years old and work part time on a zero hours contract as a food and drinks server in a care home. We are required to arrive 15 minutes before our shifts start in order to set up trolleys but we are not paid for this. As well as this, most our shifts over run and we don't get paid for this unless it over runs by longer than 30 minutes. Is it legal to be told that we need to get to a shift 15 minutes earlier even if we aren't getting paid for it?
Kat - 12-Mar-18 @ 10:18 PM
I work as a manager for a well known supermarket chain. My position is salaried and it is stated in my contract that i may be required to work additional hours from time to time. This is in the form of a one hour extension to a shift. My contract is for 45 hours a week but i am frequently extended more than 3 times per week. This puts me over the 48 hour threshold. Can they legally make me work more than 48 hours a week? This has been asked at work but they stated it was an average over a set period of time. Essentially saying they can do it as often as they want indefinately. Further to this my contract also states they can add two additional overtime shifts over the christmas period. As a shift is 9hours that means they are forcing us to work 54 hours for at least two weeks. Again, is this legal? Cheers
Jason - 2-Mar-18 @ 7:33 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
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