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A question that many employees have is whether or not their employer can force them to work overtime. While many employees want to live a normal life and get home to see their families, there are industries that require long hours during busy periods. The answer to this question is more complex than one might think. However, there are some basic laws that can help answer employees’ questions about working over 40 hours a week.

Due to the Federal Labor Standards Act, your boss has the right to force you to work overtime and can fire you for refusing to work these extra hours. The FLSA is very strict on making sure that your boss pays you for the extra time worked. However, overtime is not determined by whether or not you are working over eight hours in a day. This type of pay only starts when you are working over forty hours a week. Working a 16-hour day will be the same amount of pay as you normally will be making unless it amounts to more than forty hours of work at the end of the week. There are certain states that have different laws regarding these issues, but for the most part, this is a nationwide law.

Are You Exempt From This?

If you are a worker who is under the age of 16, things may be a little different for you. You will need to look into your state’s laws regarding this. Also, there are certain occupations that may be exempt from this due to long hours causing a safety risk. In certain employment situations, you can be protected by an agreement that stipulates the hours of work that you will have to work during the week. If you have one of these agreements, you cannot be legally forced to work more than your contract stipulates.

You MUST Be Paid Time and Half for Hours Worked Over 40

The Federal Labor Standards Act states that employers must pay time and a half for any hours worked over 40. If your employer is failing to pay you this amount, you can seek compensation through legal methods in a civil court. There are also regulations in certain states on how many hours over 40 you are allowed to work. This is usually only subjective to those who are working in the healthcare industry. Nursing is an industry where these restrictions are normally in place.

You May Be Able to Negotiate a Schedule

Once you have become a more valuable employee at your organization, it is easier to make agreements with your employer about the hours you are willing to work during a week. Just starting out at a company will most likely subject you to long hours at your employer’s discretion. The longer you work for a company, the easier it will be to have them work around your schedule.

While it may seem unfair to have to sacrifice time with your family for the benefit of your employer, there is nothing legally stating that your boss can’t force you to work the hours they want you to work. The only legal action you can seek against your employer is in a civil court case where they are refusing to pay you time and a half for the hours over 40 you have worked. If you are planning to build a case against your employer due to lack of proper payment, you must make sure that all of the proper documentation is present before you contact a lawyer.

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