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Unpaid Overtime: Know Your Rights

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 26 Nov 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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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 girlfriend works in a nursery and often has to run parent forums, parent evenings, attend staff meetings outside of her contracted hours every month (sometimes more), set up and attend any occasion parties (Christmas, Easter, Halloween etc), charity days and graduation days and parties. All of these are unpaid, out of hours and uncontracted. I figure that she's losing hundreds of pounds a year. Is any of this legal and/or are there rights that she and the other girls are entitled to, to ensure they are treated fairly and paid for the hours forced upon them?
Bobby - 24-Nov-18 @ 11:47 AM
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
I have worked for many years on an on call rota covering a service through my full time employer during out of hours periods, this was done on a monthly basis and was compulsory, there is nothing in my contract to say this is part of my job and have relied on the extra money over the many years of doing this, I have just been informed that I am no longer required to do this, am I entitled to loss of earnings?
Furious - 14-Oct-18 @ 7:31 PM
Hi there. I work for a care company and many staff lone work. They are expected to come to work at least 15mins before each shift to do a handover. They are not paid for this time. The company say its because the local authority won't pay for it. There is nothing about handovers in their contract. Staff are loosing approx £150 per year. Is there anything they can do? Not going to handover is not an option as it will have a detrimental effect on the service and the people we support.
Jsmum - 9-Oct-18 @ 6:34 PM
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
killmonger - Your Question:
So I have worked in my hotel for 13 years am lied to all the time one time I was made to work 10 weeks and 3 days of only nights as I was told it was in my contract only to find I was lied to ps I have and still only work nights alone for around 130 guests with 24 hour bar there are lots of rule breaks that I have a record of but just this week I have been given a new contract going from 40 hours a week to so called 48 hours I used to get paid extra for the hours I did then they stopped paying me the extra hours I covered overnight now I am in talks with them to get it back but nothing yet but here is the new statement from the contract due to the nature of our business. the company operates seven days a week under a shift work system. you will be required to work in accordance with a two week shift pattern. your normal working hours each week will be 48 in accordance with the rota which will be notified to you in advance. the rota will also set out details of any breaks that you are required to take during your shift. this is the whole of what they put nothing elseso here is my question my work week is still 40 hours a week (unless I have to cover the other night manager) but sometimes staff don't turn in or are late so I cover the odd hour here and there as the hotel would get lots of complaint but my work wont pay the extra hour or two can they do this as I was paid for them before

Our Response:
Your employer must get your agreement before it can change the terms of your contract, please see the link here. In your case, I suggest you give Acas a call in order to explore your options.
WelfareAtWork - 10-Aug-18 @ 1:48 PM
killmonger - Your Question:
So I have worked in my hotel for 13 years am lied to all the time one time I was made to work 10 weeks and 3 days of only nights as I was told it was in my contract only to find I was lied to ps I have and still only work nights alone for around 130 guests with 24 hour bar there are lots of rule breaks that I have a record of but just this week I have been given a new contract going from 40 hours a week to so called 48 hours I used to get paid extra for the hours I did then they stopped paying me the extra hours I covered overnight now I am in talks with them to get it back but nothing yet but here is the new statement from the contract due to the nature of our business. the company operates seven days a week under a shift work system. you will be required to work in accordance with a two week shift pattern. your normal working hours each week will be 48 in accordance with the rota which will be notified to you in advance. the rota will also set out details of any breaks that you are required to take during your shift. this is the whole of what they put nothing elseso here is my question my work week is still 40 hours a week (unless I have to cover the other night manager) but sometimes staff don't turn in or are late so I cover the odd hour here and there as the hotel would get lots of complaint but my work wont pay the extra hour or two can they do this as I was paid for them before

Our Response:
Your employer must get your agreement if they want to make changes to your contract, please see the link here .
WelfareAtWork - 9-Aug-18 @ 2:18 PM
so i have worked in my hotel for 13 years am lied to all the time one time i was made to work 10 weeks and 3 days of only nights as i was told it was in my contract only to find i was lied to ps i have and still only work nights alone for around 130 guests with 24 hour bar there are lots of rule breaks that i have a record of but just this week i have been given a new contract going from 40 hours a week to so called 48 hours i used to get paid extra for the hours i did then they stopped paying me the extra hours i covered overnight now i am in talks with them to get it back but nothing yet but here is the new statement from the contract due to the nature of our business. the company operates seven days a week under a shift work system. you will be required to work in accordance with a two week shift pattern. your normal working hours each week will be 48 in accordance with the rota which will be notified to you in advance. the rota will also set out details of any breaks that you are required to take during your shift. this is the whole of what they put nothing else so here is my question my work week is still 40 hours a week (unless i have to cover the other night manager) but sometimes staff don't turn in or are late so i cover the odd hour here and there as the hotel would get lots of complaint but my work wont pay the extrahour or two can they do this as i was paid for them before
killmonger - 8-Aug-18 @ 7:44 PM
so i have worked in my hotel for 13 years am lied to all the time one time i was made to work 10 weeks and 3 days of only nights as i was told it was in my contract only to find i was lied to ps i have and still only work nights alone for around 130 guests with 24 hour bar there are lots of rule breaks that i have a record of but just this week i have been given a new contract going from 40 hours a week to so called 48 hours i used to get paid extra for the hours i did then they stopped paying me the extra hours i covered overnight now i am in talks with them to get it back but nothing yet but here is the new statement from the contract due to the nature of our business. the company operates seven days a week under a shift work system. you will be required to work in accordance with a two week shift pattern. your normal working hours each week will be 48 in accordance with the rota which will be notified to you in advance. the rota will also set out details of any breaks that you are required to take during your shift. this is the whole of what they put nothing else so here is my question my work week is still 40 hours a week (unless i have to cover the other night manager) but sometimes staff don't turn in or are late so i cover the odd hour here and there as the hotel would get lots of complaint but my work wont pay the extrahour or two can they do this as i was paid for them before
killmonger - 8-Aug-18 @ 5:15 PM
@An. - it's a tricky one as it kind of goes with the territory where store managers are concerned and they can quite often end up earning not much above their employees who get to go home at the end of the day. If it says in the contract that you have to stay, you have agreed to it by accepting the job. However, if you can prove your wages fall below minimum wage over a 17 week period you may be able to complain to your line manager, or raise a grievance. If you work over, you should be able to pull some of that time back at a later date.
RosN - 7-Aug-18 @ 12:15 PM
I am the store manager contracted for 37.5 hrs a week but my contract states that occasionally I may be asked to stay longer when business requires. From the first day I started I very seldom leave on time. Expected to cover any sicknesses too. My site manager believes that it's normal and comes with the job title. I'm a new manager there ( only 11months) and number of hours was the main question during interview before accepting the offer to regain a life balance. I worked very long hours before but at least paid for all of them or being able to take them back. I feel like I've been hired on false promises .
An. - 6-Aug-18 @ 3:37 PM
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
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