Working overtime is often seen as a negative thing. People mostly do it because they have to, not because they choose to, usually due to delayed projects, piled-up work, or poor management. But overtime can also be a great opportunity for an employee to show their dedication to their role and company while also earning additional compensation or ensuring better schedule flexibility.
So, when can working overtime be a good thing? Before committing to overtime work, employees should ensure they can maintain a healthy work-life balance so they can truly be productive while working overtime.
In this article, we will explain what overtime work is, why it can be good for you, and how to decide if you should work overtime.
What is Overtime Work?
Overtime work refers to any hours an employee works that exceed their regularly scheduled work hours. According to The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, the rate of pay an employer must provide for overtime is double an employee’s regular pay rate, or time and a half for hours worked.
However, there are some instances where salaried employees are exempt from receiving overtime pay, typically when they earn a certain salary amount. It is always best for an employee to talk with their human resources manager and review their company’s policy to see their terms for overtime work.
What Are The Perks of Working Overtime?
Working overtime can be beneficial to both employers and employees, provided that New York employment laws are followed. The specific benefits for each party will depend on the industry and the unique job in question. However, there are some basic benefits that both parties can experience:
1. More Money
The most obvious benefit for employees who work overtime is more money. Bigger paychecks can certainly make overtime worthwhile. In New York, employers lawfully must pay nonexempt workers one and a half times their normal rate of pay (instead of their regular rate) for hours worked after 40 in a work week.
New York’s overtime minimum hourly wage is $19.80, one and a half times the regular New York minimum hourly wage of $13.20. So, if an employee making $13.20 per hour works 5 hours overtime in a work week, they would receive $99 in overtime pay.
However, some employees are exempt from New York’s overtime pay law. Salespeople, farm workers, taxi drivers, babysitters, camp counselors, and college students are exempt from overtime law. Additionally, special overtime pay rules apply to restaurant and hotel employees, non-profit employees, domestic workers, and workers in the building services industry.
New York Labor law also requires all employers to provide all new workers with written notice of their regular and overtime hourly pay rates at the time of hiring. Employees need to confirm with written notice that they have received and understood that notification.
2. More Money Around the Holidays
Additional money always comes in handy during the holidays. Working overtime on or around holidays could result in extra bonuses from holiday pay. Some companies give large bonuses (up to 50%) for working holiday hours, while others may reward their employees with more vacation days. Employees can often decide which form of compensation they would prefer. More money around holidays can often mean more peace of mind, while more vacation days could allow employees to spend more time with their families.
3. Improved Skills
Working overtime allows employees to polish their skills and gain new and valuable experiences. Employers tend to value the dedication to work and the flexibility shown by staying late, but what they value the most are the skills an employee can offer to support the company. Working overtime can allow you to squeeze in years of experience in a much shorter time.
4. Opportunities for Raise and Promotion
Employers will always notice employees who put in the work and don’t mind staying late. Such employees often earn the reputation of being reliable team players and some of the hardest working people in the office. Working overtime can put an employee at the top of the list for a promotion or a raise. Even when an employee is exempt from overtime pay, showing flexibility and staying late in the office can increase the chances of a promotion.
Companies can avoid hiring new people when employees are willing to work overtime. This way, companies can offer more money to existing employees rather than spending money on hiring and paying new employees. With overtime work, companies can also handle employee shortages or busy periods without recruiting more people, which benefits them and their employees.
5. Better Productivity
One major overtime benefit for employers is a more productive workforce. By working more hours, employees increase the level of how much they complete. This allows the company to produce more products or services and deliver them to clients at a faster rate. It is true that when a company thrives, so do all employees.
Helping the company be more successful by working overtime can ultimately help employees in terms of bonuses, raises, incentives, and job stability. A more profitable company can mean better earning opportunities for workers. In the end, clocking in more hours can benefit everyone in the workplace.
How to Decide If You Should Work Overtime?
If you’re thinking about working extra hours in your company, but you’re not sure if that’s the right thing to do, make sure to do the following:
1. Review Company Policy
Companies can have guidelines or restrictions on what they consider overtime pay and whether they want to allow employees to work extra hours beyond their regular schedule. For example, a company can limit an employee to working 5 overtime hours a week. Review company policy and rules and keep them in mind when making a decision to work overtime, and talk to your HR manager if you have additional questions.
2. Strategize Your Hours
Creating a work schedule and planning your daily tasks can help you pinpoint when you have bigger upcoming projects with tight deadlines or have too many important tasks to complete during regular hours. Strategizing your hours will allow you to determine how many overtime hours you can handle and not risk burning out.
3. Figure Out When You’re Most Productive
If you know you’re more focused and productive early in the morning, you may want to put in extra hours during that time.
4. Determine If You Need Additional Money
Overtime work can be a good alternative to a second job if you want to earn more money. You can continue doing your work without searching for another job or feeling overwhelmed by new projects and duties.
5. See If Your Employer Rewards Extra Work
Before you decide to work overtime, you need to determine whether your employer tends to acknowledge and value other employees who work extra hours. If you notice that other employees are being rewarded with raises and promotions for working overtime, then adding a couple of hours to your schedule might be a way to get recognition for your hard work.
While some New York companies have clear policies on overtime payment, others aren’t so clear or generous to their workers. Certain companies can offer ‘payment in kind,’ something like paying for a meal while you work late, which is hardly a payment. Others may counterbalance overtime by letting their employees leave early later in the work week or put the extra time worked towards additional vacation days.
However, some companies offer no payment at all. This is a sign of toxic working culture, and you should avoid working more than your regular hours. But, if you’re owed overtime pay from your employer, you can recover your unpaid wages with interest and, in some cases, penalties that the law requires your employer to pay.
To find out whether you have a case worth pursuing, feel free to contact Cilenti & Cooper today. We treat every case with the attention and care it deserves and can fight for your rights from beginning to end. We offer a free consultation to all of our prospective clients, so you have nothing to lose.