Can a company make overtime mandatory?

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Can a company make overtime mandatory? If so what are the rules and regulations?

What happens if someone refuses to do overtime?



Yes, in general, employers can require employees to work overtime, as long as the non-exempt employees are properly paid for the overtime hours they put in (keep in mind that federal law does not require payment of “daily overtime” – overtime pay at time and a half is owed only for hours in excess of 40 hours worked in a seven-day workweek).


On the other hand, exempt-salaried employees can be asked to work mandatory overtime, and they don’t need to be paid extra. Their hours are flexible, and all contained within their salary.


However, this is the general rule because many states have exceptions for certain professions. For example, Texas has an exception for nurses (RNs and LVNs) – under the Texas Health and Safety Code, mandatory overtime for RNs and LVNs is permissible only in disaster and other emergency situations. For purposes of this law, “mandatory overtime” is defined as work time above and beyond the normal pre-scheduled shifts. Thus, while such a nurse can be required to work a schedule of 50 or more hours per week (with payment of overtime pay for any nurse who is non-exempt), they cannot be required to work beyond what they were told they would have to work, unless an emergency situation demands additional hours beyond the pre-scheduled shifts.


Additionally, under federal law, there are no limits to the number of hours employees 16 and older can work during a workweek, and overtime pay is not required on weekends or holidays unless overtime is worked on those days.


Second, if an employee refuses to work mandatory overtime, it’s just like any other workplace violation.  Under federal law, employers may penalize employees who refuse to work required overtime as there are no federal restrictions in this area.  That means, that unless restricted by a state law or policy, an employee who refuses to work mandatory overtime may be subject to discipline, reassignment, demotion or even discharge.


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