The Benefits and Hazards of Overtime

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We have all been asked to stay a little later or to cover for a colleague. While it is fair to say that we all appreciate a little give and take in the workplace, the subject of overtime can be a tricky one.

For those looking to make some extra money when it comes to the holidays or a vacation, some overtime can come in handy. When you feel like you can’t say no to overtime, then it might be time to review your rights and the benefits and hazards of overtime. Here are some things to consider if you are looking to strike the right balance when it comes to overtime:

Define Overtime

An essential point of overtime is to be sure what you agree to and how you will be recompensed. The first place to check is your contract, any clauses that set out how overtime is paid and recorded should give you the basics.  Where that isn’t enough, or you don’t see anything, it is best to get something in writing from your manager.

Issues generally arise when overtime is expected rather than asked for, or if your employer doesn’t acknowledge that you are owed time in lieu or extra pay for the work you agreed. Marc Rapaport, the founder of Rapaport Law, has experience with taking unpaid overtime claims to federal court. He indicates the firm has “tenaciously represented domestic workers against several prominent NYC families who violated New York’s Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights by refusing to pay premium overtime.” 

Know Your Worth

When overtime is a mutually agreed undertaking, then it can certainly have its upsides. Both employers and employees can benefit from overtime, especially when it comes to delivering a service for customers. Even in roles that aren’t public-facing, you mind find yourself more productive when everyone else starts leaving the office.

Other benefits, besides the money or extra holiday hours, can include an improved relationship with your colleagues. A few extra hours at work can also lead to a promotion, not just from showing your commitment, but from the added projects you might take on and learn from. 

Know Your Limits

There are hazards to consider as well as chasing the money and potential promotion. Studies into overtime have shown that there are risks to your health and productivity. It can become very easy to get into the habit of saying yes to overtime, but it shouldn’t come at a cost to your physical or mental well-being.

Final Thoughts

Overtime should be accepted on your terms. It can certainly benefit your bank balance and career if you have a legitimate understanding with your employer. Be sure to know the value of other things; after all, a good life balance can also contribute to career success and happiness!