Overtime refers to any extra hours worked over the basic working hours in your contract. In your contract, it should be detailed whether overtime is compulsory or optional. So, if there are no overtime arrangements mentioned in your contract, employers cannot force you to work more than your contracted basic working hours.

If you are told to work overtime, but do not want to, you must bring it up with your employer in an informal manner.

Can You Be Sacked for Not Doing Overtime?

If compulsory overtime is written in your contract, you are obliged to work these hours. Refusing to do so may be seen as a breach of the contract and result in disciplinary action. If your contract does not state that you must work overtime, then you cannot be forced to work extra hours.

What Happens If I Don’t Work My Contracted Hours?

If you don’t work your contracted hours, you are at risk of a dismissal due to a breach in your contract. Also, if an employer cannot provide work for your contracted hours, they may be in breach of your contract too.

Can I Work Over 48 Hours?

The Working Time Directive law states that workers in the UK cannot be made to work for more than 48 hours a week, on an average.

However, employees can sign an agreement to opt out of the 48-hour limit which is signed by the employer too. The opt-out agreement can be cancelled any time by giving a notice period that is stated in the agreement. Employers cannot stop employees from cancelling this, even if it’s in your contract.

Is Unpaid Overtime Illegal UK?

There is no legal right to get paid for working overtime and there are no minimum statutory levels that define overtime pay. However, the average pay rate of a worker must not fall below the National Minimum Wage.

It is the employers’ choice to pay extra for overtime or refuse to pay overtime altogether. It should be mentioned in your contract how overtime pay rates are worked out and what employees should receive.

Can My Employer Withhold Overtime?

Unless your contract includes a clause relating to overtime, your employer can withhold extra hours. However, there must be no discrimination e.g., employers stop some employees from working overtime but not others.

Am I Entitled to Overtime If I Work Part Time?

Employment law states that both part-time and full-time workers must receive equal work opportunities and salaries. Part-time workers are entitled to be paid overtime if they work longer hours than those included in their contract, more than the normal working hours of full-time employees, or unsocial hours.

Working overtime should be clear and written in your contract, however this is not always the case. Individual circumstances can have an impact on overtime exceptions and figuring out your overtime rights can be complicated – that’s what Premier Legal are here for. Have you been unfairly dismissed? Do you need legal clarification for your situation? Get in touch with our employment law experts who will be happy to help.