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How to get your employees to work longer shifts without paying overtime

by , 13 August 2013
You probably know that you can only force your employees to work overtime if they accept a written or verbal agreement that they'll do so. If there's no agreement in place you can't force them to work overtime unless there's an emergency. But, did you know that you can get your employees to work longer shifts without paying overtime? Read on to find out how...

You can regulate your employee's working hours depending on the needs of your business and the nature of the job, provided you comply with the provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

In fact, the BCEA even allows you to get your employees to work longer shifts without paying overtime, BUT only if you meet certain conditions.

Can you get your employee to work longer shifts and not pay him for overtime?

Yes, one way to get your employee to work longer shifts without paying overtime is through a compressed working week.

This means you may agree with your employee in writing that he'll work for up to 12 hours a day.

You can only do this if he doesn't:

  • Work more than 45 hours a week
  • Work more than 10 hours' overtime a week
  • Work more than five days in that week.

For example, Mary can agree to work for 12 hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (three days) and nine hours on Friday. She would now have worked 45 ordinary hours that week (12 x 3 days = 36 + 9 = 45 hours).

In addition to these ordinary hours, if Mary's contract of employment provides for overtime or if Mary agrees, Mary can work eight hours on Friday and maybe an extra two hours on Sunday.

Now she would have worked 10 hours overtime. Altogether, Mary will have worked for five days and for 55 hours (45 ordinary hours and 10 hours overtime).

You can use any combination of the number of days and the hours (ordinary or overtime) in those days, as long as the total number of hours in the week doesn't exceed:

  1. 45 ordinary working hours
  2. 10 overtime hours.

Remember, when arranging working hours, you must consider the health of employees, meal, rest and daily intervals as well as payment considerations for overtime or Sunday work.

Use this method to ensure your employee works longer shifts at no cost to you.

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