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Unpaid Overtime: Know Your Rights

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 20 May 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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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
Patsy - Your Question:
My new contract states my working hours 9 till 5 then the next paragraph statesYou will be required to work such additional or alternative hours as required to meet your targets and the business objectives. There is no further remuneration for additional hours worked as this is a salaried position. Further on in the contract it states the capability procedure applicable to your employment does not form part of your terms and conditions of employment and are contained within the employee handbook. The reason I am asking is that I have been on holiday for 2 weeks and all my work has been left and I am now being penalised for not working quick enough and I am being asked to work more hours to catch up. If I say no am I breaking my contract? Can I be disciplined. I am still in my probation periodSeems really unfair

Our Response:
In other words, you are being penalised for having a holiday by having to make up the time in unpaid overtime in order to complete the work you couldn't do when you were away. In the first instance, you would have to speak to your employer directly regarding this. If you raise the matter informally by talking to your manager but you’re not satisfied, you can make a formal grievance complaint in writing, please see link here . However, a probationary period is just that and your employer can dismiss you without recourse, please see link here . There is no easy answer to your question regarding this matter.
WelfareAtWork - 22-Feb-18 @ 12:29 PM
My new contract states my working hours 9 till 5 then the next paragraph states You will be required to work such additional or alternative hours as required to meet your targets and the business objectives. There is no further remuneration for additional hours worked as this is a salaried position. Further on in the contract it states the capability procedure applicable to your employment does not form part of your terms and conditions of employment and are contained within the employee handbook. The reason I am asking is that i have been on holiday for 2 weeks and all my work has been left and I am now being penalised for not working quick enough and I am being asked to work more hours to catch up. If I say no am I breaking my contract? Can I be disciplined. I am still in my probation period Seems really unfair
Patsy - 20-Feb-18 @ 7:11 PM
Carly - Your Question:
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?

Our Response:
Much depends upon the terms and conditions of your employment contract and what it says about working overtime. While employers don’t have to pay workers for overtime, your average pay for the total hours worked mustn’t fall below the National Minimum Wage. If it does, you may be able to claim this money back. Before you speak to your employer directly, you may wish to give ACAS a call, in order to explore your rights. Please also see the ACAS link here , for your consideration.
WelfareAtWork - 15-Feb-18 @ 2:14 PM
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
Filipe Castro - Your Question:
I work as a chef in a restaurant they gave me a contract of minimum 40 a week and says im required to work extra hours ive been doing at least 50 hours a week and there have been 3 weeks that ive done over 60 hours this comes to a rate well below minimum wage and surely this is taking the piss I have the contract but havent signed it yet what do you advice?

Our Response:
Chefs are renowned for being paid low wages. However, if you feel you are being taken advantage of, then please see the WorkSmart link here , which will tell you how you can complain.
WelfareAtWork - 5-Feb-18 @ 10:15 AM
Andy - Your Question:
I started working for a new company site 4 years ago. My contract has always stated that I am entitled to overtime pay for anything over 40 hours per week. I was told that the company was a family run company and that they looked after their employees. I have never had to submit a time sheet for my working week and have never been paid for any overtime. I average between 5 and 10 hours overtime a week and want to know if I can claim any of this back. I feel like the company has not been honest in the way it has dealt with me but until now I have been working in the belief that the company would treat me. I have brought this up once before but have not been paid or instructed how I go about getting paid for the overtime.

Our Response:
If your contract states you are entitled to overtime pay, then you should be able to request this and request back pay if you have not been paid any overtime you have done. 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 - 5-Feb-18 @ 10:07 AM
I started working for a new company site 4 years ago. My contract has always stated that I am entitled to overtime pay for anything over 40 hours per week. I was told that the company was a family run company and that they looked after their employees. I have never had to submit a time sheet for my working week and have never been paid for any overtime. I average between 5 and 10 hours overtime a week and want to know if I can claim any of this back. I feel like the company has not been honest in the way it has dealt with me but until now I have been working in the belief that the company would treat me. I have brought this up once before but have not been paid or instructed how I go about getting paid for the overtime.
Andy - 4-Feb-18 @ 12:08 PM
I work as a chef in a restaurant they gave me a contract of minimum 40 a week and says im required to work extra hours ive been doing at least 50 hours a week and there have been 3 weeks that ive done over 60 hours this comes to a rate well below minimum wage and surely this is taking the piss i have the contract but havent signed it yet what do you advice?
Filipe Castro - 4-Feb-18 @ 10:32 AM
I work as a chef, have been at the same place 3 years. I am contracted to work 45 hours, but there is always overtime , paid at the normal rate, and it is not optional!. Before Xmas I had to take two days off sick with back ache, on doctor's advice to rest. The back ache was due to overwork, heavy lifting, etc. As the company pays nothing for the first week off sick, two days pay were subtracted from my pay this month. I expected that, no illusions there, but what I didn't expect was to be paid no overtime for the full month! It seems to me I have been penalized twice for being ill: 1) I am not paid for the two days off 2) I am not paid for the overtime I did before and after these two days (and believe me there was a lot, over Xmas and new year), which means in effect that my overall rate of pay for the hours I worked this month has been lowered. I could understand it if the overtime I worked was set against the 18 hours work I missed on those two days, so that I was paid at least for the number of hours I really worked, but this way the company profits from me by saving those two days' pay and also getting a whole lot of overtime done for free! Can this really be correct?
stee - 1-Feb-18 @ 9:20 AM
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