Overtime is always a tricky issue and relies a lot on the good faith of your employees as well as business meets. If you are not getting the remuneration required for your extra hours, then an overtime pay lawyer can help, but worryingly news from the UK suggests that the employee base offers an average of 18 days of overtime for free that they are not paid for each year, and it could well be a practice going on throughout the US too.
A Stark Warning to Employers
Following a study by Ciphr, where 1000 UK employees were questioned, a stark warning has been issued to any employers who might be letting this practice slide to gain the benefits. It is suggested that they should actually be looking more closely at the wider business impact, minimum wage law, and of course, working time regulations.
The survey discovered that most people are allowing their employers three extra hours of work each week. Calculated on an annual basis. This comes to 18 days, and this is just the beginning, as over 11% of the survey respondents confessed it was actually closer to 5 hours each week that they did in overtime for free.
The question here, of course, is whether this is a goodwill gesture or whether they feel that their jobs are threatened if they do not keep up with the workload. Remote workers generally offer 3.5 hours per week for free, 25 to 34-year-olds spend 3.5 hours longer than they should at work, and the senior managers seemed to get worse deals, with most averaging around 4.1 hours of unpaid work each week. Legal services come a close second; we’re just under 4.1 hours of unpaid overtime completed by employees and education workers giving away 3.9 hours per week.
Misuse of a Contract Clause
The stark fact is that 49% of people who are working overtime are not paid, and only 23% of those working overtime are correctly remunerated. It seems that a clause of many contracts is being exploited, as BrightHR chief executive Alan Price explains. The clause, which will be worded differently in many cases, basically states that an employee may be required to offer extra hours if the business needs it.
However, he is very keen to impress that there should be a rare occurrence and never the norm which is what it looks like is happening at the moment. If the unpaid overtime tips, the scales employees could find that they are no longer meeting the national minimum wage laws.
But That is Just the Start
If employees are constantly forced to work overtime for no pay, you will also find that morale will suffer, as will employee retention. People do not have to put up with working for free, especially if their good nature is being taken advantage of. Anyone who feels like their company is trapping them into unpaid overtime is urged to take legal advice from a specialist overtime pay solicitor.
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