Overtime: How it Works & Your Rights

In this blog, we take a look at overtime, what the different types are and your rights.

What is classified as overtime?

When you fill in your employment contract, there’s a good chance it details exactly how many hours you’ll be required to work each week. On average, this will be 40 hours per week. Overtime, as you may expect, is any time spent working that is not within your regular contracted 40 hours of work. For example, if an important project is nearing a deadline you may be asked to work an extra hour or two each week to ensure it’s finished in time. These ‘extra’ hours are classified as overtime.


Voluntary, compulsory guaranteed and compulsory non-guaranteed

There are three types of overtime, they are: voluntary, compulsory guaranteed and compulsory non-guaranteed. Voluntary is pretty self explanatory, this is when you are asked if you’d like to work overtime and have the option to say yes or no. This is when there is overtime available, but it isn’t a requirement for you to do it.

Compulsory guaranteed, however, is when you are contractually obliged to complete a specific amount of overtime each week, month or year. This means, as part of your contract, you must complete, for example, 8 hours of overtime each month and cannot decline to do so without breaching your contract. Something to note is that in guaranteed overtime, your employer must provide that overtime to you otherwise they are failing to uphold their side of the contract. This brings us onto the final type of overtime.

Compulsory non-guaranteed overtime is similar to guaranteed with the slight difference of there being no set amount of overtime you’ll have available to you each week, month or year. This means you may or may not be required to complete overtime. However, you are still contractually obliged to agree to overtime if you are asked to do so. This type of overtime is not ideal as you won’t know if or when you’ll be required to work extra hours.


What are the different types of overtime pay?

When it comes to paying overtime, there’s a few different ways the majority of employers will do so. These can often change dependant on the season or holiday as well. Here are the most common payment types for overtime;

  • Double time - this is when for each hour of overtime, you’ll be paid twice your regular hourly wage. If you’re currently earning £8 per hour, double time would be £16 per hour. Simply, double time is being paid for double the time you’ve worked.
  • Pay and a half - this is when for each hour of overtime, you earn your regular wage plus another half. If you’re currently earning £8 per hour, in pay and a half, you’ll earn £12 per hour.
  • Triple time - rarely, you may be offered triple time. This is being paid thrice your regular wage each hour. This generally only happens on New Years Eve and Christmas day. If you’re currently earning £8 per hour, triple time would be £24 per hour.


What does the law say?

According to the official Government page on overtime, employers are not actually legally required to pay for overtime. Actually, employers aren’t legally obliged to pay for overtime at all. Note, in some cases, you may be offered time off or other incentives to work overtime instead of pay.

However, it does state that your total pay must not equate to less than NWM (national minimum wage) x the total hours you worked including overtime. For example, if you work 40 hours per week and completed 4 hours of overtime on top of that; the minimum an 18 year old could be paid is £6.15 x 44 = £270.60 (based upon the April 2019 national living wage for the 18-20 age bracket.) 


Why pay more than the regular wage?

So, this may have you asking, why may your employer pay more than your contracted regular wage for overtime? Generally, overtime is available when your employer knows they will not meet required deadlines or demand. This means they NEED you to work overtime and therefore it is very much in their interest for you to work more hours.

Essentially, the cards are in your hand and the increased pay is to incentivise you to work more hours. If this wasn’t available, and staff declined to work overtime, this would put the employer in a messy situation.



Recruitment with Prestige

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Posted: Tue 30 Jul 2019
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