Mandatory Overtime: What You Should Consider Before Forcing Employees to Work Overtime
It may be hard to believe, but federal law does not prohibit employers from requiring their employees to work overtime. For the most part, employers are allowed to make their employees work as many hours as they see fit to get the job done. However, there can be complications when it comes to forcing your employees to work overtime.
Things to Consider when Requiring Mandatory Overtime
1.) Overtime Pay
There are many jobs outlined by the Fair Labor Standards Act that require employers to pay their employees time and a half, if they work more than 40 hours in one week. However, there are jobs that are exempt from overtime pay, and they include, but are not limited to:
- Farm workers
- Youth counselors with child care responsibilities
- Computer professionals
- Administrative professionals
- Salaried professionals
2.) Safety Risks
If the conditions of an employee working overtime pose a health or safety concern to the employee, the employer should not mandate overtime work. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that prolonged overtime work can cause decreased alertness and increased fatigue. This can lead to higher incidents of accidents for truck drivers or those who operate machinery. Employers should try and avoid forcing overtime on employees in these kinds of working conditions, or reduce the number of hours per day worked and increase the number of days.
3.) State Laws
Many states have restrictions on mandatory overtime. While federal law generally allows it, there are at least 16 states with strict mandatory overtime laws in place. For example, in California, employees can refuse to work overtime with no penalty from their employer if they have already worked 72 hours that week. Employers should familiarize themselves with overtime laws in every state that their company operates to avoid compliance risk.
EPAY Systems offers a flexible, cloud based time and attendance solution that makes managing your employee’s overtime a breeze. Learn more about how we can help you maintain overtime compliance, or download the report, Top 5 Ways Not to Get Sued to learn best practices for avoiding wage and hour lawsuits.