It’s easy, they can — at least under federal law.
Yes, an employer can force overtime and can fire you if you decide to refuse. That’s what the federal overtime rules say in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA doesn’t set any limits on how many hours a day or a week you can be required to work. It just requires employers to pay employees overtime, which is normally ‘time and a half’ the regular pay rate. Some state laws though give employees more rights. The best place to make sure is to check with your state’s Department of Labor.
Back to the No
No. Your employer isn’t required to pay overtime if you worked more than eight hours in a day. The federal law ‘s interest is weeks, not days. Just as long as you come in under 40 hours a week, you’re not entitled to overtime. Again, some states require employers to pay overtime if the employee works over eight hours in a day. Many people new to the workforce don’t understand how can an employer force overtime.
How To Deal With a Manager Requiring Overtime
Try to be flexible when asked to take on extra work which stretches past the normal work schedule — especially if it’s temporary. Start the conversation with your boss by saying “Can we talk about other options?”
Your manager and his boss can require you to work the hours they want, and these can change at any time. The other saving grace is a contract which says otherwise.
A reasonable manager will work within someone’s needs if they aren’t able to take on more hours, especially when the work hours are excessive.
Not each manager is reasonable though.
Talk to your boss and see if there may be some way to limit overtime. If there is, the problem is solved. Be ready for the chance that they tell you no. Then it’s up to you to choose if you want the job.
What About Exempt Employees?
The same federal law that spells out the overtime law says that some salaried employees are exempt, so if they work 41 hours in a week, they get paid the same as if they worked thirty. Exempt employees have to work over 40 hours — and it’s legal.
Who Is Exempt?
Employees paid on a salary basis are exempt. They make a predetermined amount each week notwithstanding how many hours they work. Exemptions are an option for a specific type of employee. For example, administrators, executives and professionals, like scientists, can be exempt. Waitstaff and janitors cannot be exempt.
Working for a predetermined salary is great as it gives employees flexibility. When there’s a lot of work, salaried employees put in extra time. When the workload is light they go home early. Salaried employees don’t have to be concerned about working enough hours to keep food on the table.