August 24, 2023

What is Mandatory Overtime?

What is Mandatory Overtime?

Mandatory overtime is an agreement between an employee and their employer that states that the employee is obligated to work additional hours outside of their regular schedule as and when required by the boss. This could be any extra hours that are deemed necessary to complete a job or task, irrespective of the normal working hours, contractual obligations, or any other standard conditions.

Employers commonly use mandatory overtime when they are facing tight deadlines, additional workloads, or staffing shortages. Instead of hiring additional staff to meet contract or project deliverables, employers will call upon existing employees to work additional hours. While this can provide a benefit to the company, it can also have a major impact on employees and their lifestyle.

When an employee signs up for a job, they may assume certain expectations around their salary and working hours. That understanding can be drastically altered when overtime is factored in. On the one hand, working additional hours may help an employee increase their earnings and gain valuable experience. On the other hand, it can also result in significant disruption to an individual’s daily routine, daily schedule, and overall wellbeing.

Is mandatory overtime ethical? Be transparent from the beginning.

When creating a job posting for a position that may require mandatory overtime, it is important to be as transparent and concise as possible about any such expectations. Companies should ensure they provide sufficient information or disclaimers in the description about the potential for overtime. Informing potential applicants of potential mandatory overtime should include full details about hours worked, work schedules, pay rate and how overtime will be compensated.

It is also important to be transparent about the potential for additional hours, such as peak times that may require additional work. Companies should be forthcoming in indicating whether on-call status is required or if working irregular hours may be necessary for the position. Candidates should be informed of any applicable policies with regards to overtime pay, such as who is eligible (e.g. exempt or non-exempt employees).

While mandatory overtime can be beneficial to the company’s financial security, it’s important to think through the implications it might have for current employees. Companies should consider whether overtime pay restrictions could have a negative impact on morale or job satisfaction.

It is also important for companies to be clear in the job description of whether the typical work schedule is Monday to Friday or seven days a week. Companies should also stress the importance of understanding expectations surrounding overtime work prior to commencing employment.  If mandatory overtime is required, it is advisable for companies to offer extra incentives (e.g. competitive rates, bonuses or banking of hours) in the job posting, to appeal to potential candidates.

Is overtime pay always mandatory?

Moreover, overtime pay is not always mandatory depending on the local laws and regulations governing employees. In countries such as the United States, employees are protected by the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), which was designed to protect workers from being overworked and underpaid for their hours worked. As a result, many employers are required to pay an overtime rate of 1.5 times the employees’ normal rate for any hours worked beyond a 40-hour work week.

When it comes to enforcing mandatory overtime, employers will typically try to strike a balance between what’s necessary to complete the job and what’s reasonable within an employer-employee relationship. It should be noted, however, that employees are often reluctant to comply with mandatory overtime requests. Therefore, it’s important for employers to maintain open and honest communication with their employees regarding any mandated overtime requests. This will help build trust and ensure that both parties feel respected and valued within the organization.

How do you create sustainable mandatory overtime culture?

It’s also important for employers to consider mitigating factors such as health, safety, sleep, and fatigue when considering the implications of mandatory overtime. An employee’s physical and mental health should always come first over any job or project-related needs. Failing to create a balanced workplace can have serious consequences on both an individual and organization-level. Beyond that, ensuring mandatory overtime does not conflict too much with an employee’s life will create a more sustainable mandatory overtime culture.

What are the risks of excessive overtime?

In conclusion, mandatory overtime can cause disruption to an employee’s lifestyle and wellbeing if left unchecked along with increased chance of workplace injury and burnout. Employers should always keep communication lines open with their employees and look for opportunities to minimize the potential impacts associated with additional hours of work. Ultimately, both parties should strive to create a healthy work-life balance to ensure that everyone involved in the organization is productive, fulfilled, and content at work.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog page is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. It is advisable to seek professional legal counsel before taking any action based on the content of this page. We do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided, and we will not be liable for any losses or damages arising from its use. Any reliance on the information provided is solely at your own risk. Consult a qualified attorney for personalized legal advice.

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