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Unpaid Overtime: Know Your Rights

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 16 Aug 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 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
My employer has decided to change our time sheets. Before we had to fill in our normal hours and overtime hours worked. Now he has taken them away completely and if we work overtime we now fill in a separate sheet and hand it to our team leader. The query I have is,if for whatever reason we do not hand in the sheet or our team leader misplaces them the employer will not pay us for the overtime. Our contracts will not change so it will state that any overtime worked will be paid at normal rate. Is this legal?
Nono - 10-Jun-17 @ 10:02 AM
I have a 37.5 hr weekly contract. I am forced to work on average 59 hours each week since January last year. Contract states reasonably amount of overtime-unpaid. Doing some overtime is fine, but 4hours unpaid overtime each day is killing me. Surely this isn't legal. I also drive lgv/hgv throughout the week- only a few hours each day though- my Tachomaster hours (not driving hours) are manually added into the system, which I found out this week they are changing Tachomaster to say I work 9-5 instead of 6.45-19.30. Surely this isn't legal either. Any help would be great
Moorey - 27-May-17 @ 8:46 PM
I have been working for a wealthy Employer for almost 2 years now, as a Nanny. we had a agreement i would only ever work 7 until 7 5 days a week/ After worked there for awhile he increased my hours so now work 13-15 hours a day. when i asked him about all the extra hours i work he said we do not pay extra. The contract has no mention of hours i will work, he uses everything as i am on a visa and now he says they do not need me any more.now i have no job and refuses to sign my indefinite visa,he has made me sign a new contract that changed my job title etc without myapproval.telling meit was for something else. also took me to France for amonth working me 17 hours a day with no day off/ What do i do??
Shabb - 22-May-17 @ 1:33 PM
Ralphi - Your Question:
Hello. My employer would love for me to do overtime, but I'm reluctant to say yes as I'll be working a 12hr day but only be getting paid for 10 and a half hours. I currently work a 4 on 4 off shift at 12hr days/nights. I know I'm within my rights to say no. Are they aloud to pay me less than the hours I've worked (overtime)?

Our Response:
You would have to check the terms and conditions of your employment contract. Your employer is not allowed to pay you less than the hours you are contracted to and/or have worked.
WelfareAtWork - 18-May-17 @ 2:26 PM
Hello. My employer would love for me to do overtime, but I'm reluctant to say yes as I'll be working a 12hr day but only be getting paid for 10 and a half hours. I currently work a 4 on 4 off shift at 12hr days/nights. I know I'm within my rights to say no. Are they aloud to pay me less than the hours I've worked (overtime)?
Ralphi - 18-May-17 @ 8:57 AM
Zitch - Your Question:
Hi, my company is holding a conference in holland which runs into Saturday, meaning I will end up doing a 16+ hour day on the Saturday however we have been told we have to attend but it is not paid. Is this legal?

Our Response:
You would have to read the terms and conditions of your employment contract. This should specify whether you have to work additional unpaid hours.
WelfareAtWork - 2-May-17 @ 2:12 PM
No1much - Your Question:
Hi I am contracted to 44 hours over 5 days per week in retail. I am not paid for overtime but regularly have to do 50 or so hours per week to complete tasks etc which I'm fine with usually, but my employer demands that I attend stock take at another store unpaid for 7 hours above my contracted hours (my contract only states that I am to attend stocktake at my store every thirteen weeks, which I do without qualms because it's in my contract). This is not to "complete tasks" but is given as an add-on to our duties. They also regularly make us work extra shifts just to save money on hourly paid staff. Is this legal.

Our Response:
You need to speak to your employer directly regarding this, as it sounds as though your employment contract is being contravened. If it is, you can refuse to do this work if you choose, on the basis it is outside the remit of your contract.
WelfareAtWork - 2-May-17 @ 12:52 PM
Hi, my company is holding a conference in holland which runs into Saturday, meaning I will end up doing a 16+ hour day on the Saturday however we have been told we have to attend but it is not paid. Is this legal?
Zitch - 2-May-17 @ 6:20 AM
Hi I am contracted to 44 hours over 5 days per week in retail. I am not paid for overtime but regularly have to do 50 or so hours per week to complete tasks etc which I'm fine with usually, but my employer demands that I attend stock take at another store unpaid for 7 hours above my contracted hours (my contract only states that I am to attend stocktake at my store every thirteen weeks, which I do without qualms because it's in my contract). This is not to "complete tasks" but is given as an add-on to our duties. They also regularly make us work extra shifts just to save money on hourly paid staff. Is this legal.
No1much - 2-May-17 @ 12:33 AM
ALKH - Your Question:
In regards to your response, you mentioned our employer is allowed request us to work extra hours. But it says from time to time? Surely 4 months straight is not "from time to time". Also, is it ok if we are getting our work done and they are seeing we are leaving at 5.30 so give us extra work? ALKH - Your Question:I work in Financial Services and my contract states:"you may from time to time be required to work longer hours and the firm expects you to be flexible in this regard."Our normal hours are 37.5 a week but from Jan-March we are expected to work 45hrs plus. This does not stop at March when most ppl are still working past 5.30 as they are overloaded with work.We dont get paid or extra time off like in some compaines nor do we get time off during quite time. (They might let us leave 15 mins early)Surely this is not ok as from time to time means on the odd occasion. If I asked my manager can I take half days from time to time im sure that does not mean most of the year!Our Response:If the terms of the contract states you are requested to be flexible with regards to working longer hours in order to complete your workload, then your employer is allowed to request you do this. However, if you feel your employer is taking liberties, then in the first instance you would have to speak with your employer informally about the matter. If you attempt to resolve the issue and the result is not to your satisfaction then you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing, please see link here. However, please be aware that by signing the contract you accepted these terms.WelfareAtWork - 21-Apr-17 @ 12:22 PM

Our Response:
As specified later in our reply, if you feel you are being treated unfairly regarding this matter (as you obviously do), you would have to speak to your employer about it informally at first. Especially, if your contract says you are expected to work overtime 'from time to time' and your employer is pushing the boundaries of the contract. You don't say if other employees feel the same way, if they do, you may wish to come together to address this issue as a collective. Or if you are represented by a union, you could speak to your union directly for further advice.
WelfareAtWork - 24-Apr-17 @ 12:26 PM
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