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Old Apr 15, 2010, 04:15 PM   #1
YS2003
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Overtime. How much is too much?

Is there any guideline on how much overtime is too much? Let's say your regular business hours are 8 plus 1 hour for lunch/break. If you need to work additional 4 to 8 hours a day (8 days off per month) every day, is it too much? My company has many different project teams and some of my colleagues are racking up more than 200 hours of overtime per month.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 04:28 PM   #2
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I guess it depends on what they can handle.

When I did a lot of real estate investment, I worked 16+ hours a day. Phone always on, browsing for deals, driving around the city looking at houses, talking to investors, etc... I also know some business owners who work the same hours 6 days a week.

Essentially that is around the same overtime that your colleagues rack up.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 04:28 PM   #3
Sleazy E
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i guess it depends on how much you are making and how much you need the extra money. for me, an hour of overtime is too much . I work to live, not live to work!
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 04:31 PM   #4
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I don't get paid overtime, so anything after 5 is too much. I do get a fat bonus and options, I won't complain if I have 100 hours of overtime per month and sometimes I do. Worked here for 5 years and I don't think I ever had a vacation where I didn't have to work and/or check my emails.

If you don't get paid overtime and you have to constantly put in overtime, anything is too much. If you get overtime, I think it's upto the person.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 04:33 PM   #5
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plenty of people in this world put in overtime that is double or triple or 4x their weekly hours. too many variables and people to make generalizations off of these trends.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 04:37 PM   #6
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I did 35 or so days straight, some of them doubles, some triples. Due to it being healthcare, I was told to take a whole day off due to negligence. Would have been 53 days straight if it wasn't for that.

Just depends on how you can handle it. Some can't even take a 8 hour shift, others can do much more. I did it for the money and also for the feeling I would have when I was done.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 04:46 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by YS2003 View Post
Is there any guideline on how much overtime is too much? Let's say your regular business hours are 8 plus 1 hour for lunch/break. If you need to work additional 4 to 8 hours a day (8 days off per month) every day, is it too much? My company has many different project teams and some of my colleagues are racking up more than 200 hours of overtime per month.
Well, the average person needs about 8 hours of sleep, time for meals, time for maintaining personal relationships, exercise, and some leisure time. I'd say that if you are working this amount of overtime consistently it is way too much. That's not to say its uncommon, but its not healthy. Sadly, with so many people working so much overtime Americans have become distorted as what a "normal" workweek should be. 60 hours a week is considered reasonable at some places.

Most of the people I know that work crazy hours are moderately to severly overweight. They get stressed and eat at their desks all day.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 04:51 PM   #8
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There have been studies done on overtime pay. After 40 hours productivity per hour starts dropping off pretty fast.

You start looking at work and you can do 48 hour work weeks and yeah your productivity per hour drops and it drops more for every additional week you work those hours.

Now at 7 day work weeks for example after about 6 weeks you are down to 60% productivity per hour and that is where it levels off at. This is compared to your productivity per hour on a 40 hour work week.

For me I figured out if after about 55-60 hours I was shot. Yeah I pulled some weeks longer than that but my productivity was CRAP and it would carry over into the next week because I needed some down down.

Also it has been shown some one working 6 days a week and making sure they took a day off to truly rest and relax gets a lot more work down than some one working 7 days a week. Our bodies and minds were designed to take a day off. This is not based on religion but studies that have been done. Hell I was at yes a camp for a church when this was brought up while I was in college by the leader and they STRONGLY recomended that when we take our day off to relax we do not choose Sunday. Sunday was a bad day to choose to relax because well we all had class on Monday so chances were very good that we would be working on homework Sunday. Saturday or Friday were the good days to relax and recharge.

While I had a job my normal week was Saturday was my relax do nothing day and was for me. Sunday was the day I traded to get anything I needed to done at home done. If I needed to go into work on something I always went in on Sunday. I was salary so no over time for me.
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 09:55 PM   #9
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depends how much you can handle i guess. Over the xmas period (december 19th till 8th January) i did nearly 160 hours (paid hours that is... this includes no breaks) and i managed that alright. I think its a personal matter rather than you worrying about 'how much is too much'
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Old Apr 15, 2010, 10:00 PM   #10
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I agree with everybody saying that it depends on the person. I'm currently a student and I work 4 days a week, with 3 being 12 hour shifts. I don't mind it, actually I prefer it. It's the only way I can get hours in and it gives me time to do whatever I needed to do that day done. Over the summer I plan on continueing to work 12 hours a day (this includes a 20 and 30 min break), but hopefully more a week.

I would rather work 60 hours over 5 days then 6 or 7.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 03:23 AM   #11
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It depends on you, the job, the quantity of work that needs to be done, and your career perspectiv as well as concurence.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 07:34 PM   #12
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My job shift is 5 hours per day
we tried having shifts of 8 hours
but after 5.5 most peoples performance and well-being declined
now we are 5 hour shift , no breaks
and we get more accomplished per day that the 8 hour+ shifts.

Occasionally when there is a heavy work load we are on 5 hours, go crash/sleep/out for food for 2 hours and then work another 5 hour shift.
so max 10 hours of work per day
after 12 hours of working it becomes too dangerous for everyone so to be safe
the cut off is 12 hours per day max 4 days in row. then 3 days off.

more than 12 hours of work per day is too much on ANY day
i think working 10 hours per day is too much on a regular basis
sure you will make $ but will be so stressed and exhausted that you wont enjoy it.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 08:14 PM   #13
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Any overtime is too much!

When you get overtime you get bumped up to the next tax bracket and get taxed more so you usually end up with your original wage anyways.

So say if you make $12 an hour overtime is 1.5*12 = 18 after taxes your near 10- 11 something.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 09:10 PM   #14
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When you get overtime you get bumped up to the next tax bracket and get taxed more so you usually end up with your original wage anyways.

So say if you make $12 an hour overtime is 1.5*12 = 18 after taxes your near 10- 11 something.
New tax bracket taxes only that amount over the threshold. I think working overtime used to be taxed differently years ago, but now it just depends on your gross amount. We researched this at my old job due to all the OT and some people saying some stuff about taxes.

Basically if you want to work it and can, it will be beneficial monetarily to you. They take every paycheck and take out taxes assuming you are making that much that year, so you don't owe at the end of the year. So it may look like more, but since you aren't going to keep up the pace with the overtime, you will get some back when you file your return.
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 10:38 PM   #15
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New tax bracket taxes only that amount over the threshold. I think working overtime used to be taxed differently years ago, but now it just depends on your gross amount.
I used to work at a place during the mid- to late-eighties that almost always required us to work some OT. At first I didn't mind, but then I realized that thanks to the higher rate I was getting taxed, the amount of money I was taking home per hour of work was getting less and less. Talk about diminishing returns...
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Old Apr 16, 2010, 11:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by YS2003 View Post
Is there any guideline on how much overtime is too much? Let's say your regular business hours are 8 plus 1 hour for lunch/break. If you need to work additional 4 to 8 hours a day (8 days off per month) every day, is it too much? My company has many different project teams and some of my colleagues are racking up more than 200 hours of overtime per month.
In my incredibly recession torn county, getting too much overtime always gets you fired regardless of who you are short of being the owner of a business.

My good friend was in a pickle when he fired two people from his three person crew (one for extreme absenteeism and one for drinking on the job) and decided for a time to run the store (which wasn't his franchise) by himself with one other employee. Originally the franchise was the owner and one person who had tons of overtime, but then again that was during good times.

When he fired the two people, he thought he was doing the business a favor but between his overtime and the overtime the other worker put on, the operational expenses of the business shot through the roof. The owner of the franchise basically came in and fired him, hired two more people, and reduced the hours the store was to be open.

I wished I had been able to tell my friend his idea was bad in the two firings. He should have put up with the absent worker and cut her hours back, and gave a stern warning to the man who was drinking on the job. He could have, though not easily, worked a solution and kept a 4 person crew including himself.

He was initially happy when he saw his paycheck double for the next few cycles, but the owner of this franchise, which hasn't posted a profit in years could not afford the overtime and had to fire the manager, even though he liked him very much. It wasn't about friendship, it was literally about whether that store would be able to continue to stay in business another few months with the massive increase in expenses via overtime pay.

It's something to think about in these hard times.

Many jobs here are posting "full time work" online and at job fairs and they are talking 32 hours per week. Many businesses have eliminated the 40 hour workweek in fear of having to pay overtime. Overtime pay to employees to a store owner is a luxury like a giant SUV and diamond encrusted watch which are not prudent for these times.

Also, this franchise and many others (as well as non franchised businesses) have resorted to hiring people under the table who are not yet citizens, but for our agricultural county, this is more the rule than the exception so that's no surprise.

Not to sound alarmist, but have a backup plan and keep a backup job search list of potential employers. Overtime in these hard times is a great incentive for a business or company to go offshore. This happened with a huge division of a large telecom who were once known as an "American" company. They vacated a large business park in the US before the buildings actually got around to being painted and jumped south across the border!

Last edited by 63dot; Apr 17, 2010 at 12:00 AM.
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 12:05 AM   #17
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My boss will not pay us over time unless it is agreed upon before the work carries out.

I avoid overtime like the plague if i have to stay back i bring the work home that way i an sort of relax with my music etc
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 12:28 AM   #18
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Five overtimes was way too much. I'm just glad the Flyers won that one.

I'm salaried, so OT doesn't exist. I was in for 10 hours today. I'll be in for 4 (if everything works) or a lot more (if it doesn't) on Saturday.

But I also just went to the Colorado Rockies home opener during business hours. So it all works out eventually.

As long as you're being paid, or given something in trade for your personal time, it's up to you to determine if you're willing to give the company your time.

At a former position, I was asked to do some stuff to help out because we had flooding at another one of our sites. I put in hours, didn't mind. I was helping the team.

Later on, they started doing layoffs, and things were busy because we were understaffed. I went home on time. Every time. I'm not covering for somebody's poor forecasting or planning, nor am I covering for their decision to reduce costs by dumping staff.

So it all depends on the situation.
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Old Apr 17, 2010, 02:03 PM   #19
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Depends on how much you value your spare time, and how much you need the money.

My first job, I spent 6 months working 8am to 11pm most days - it was completely nuts. But as a graduate straight out of university the extra money was welcome, and I didn't have a whole lot to do in my spare time anyway.

As the years have gone by, my salary went up and I became less happy about the overtime. I had better things to do in my free time - and I wasn't a desperate for the money.

I agree that you're not really productive after 8 hours working... but unfortunately a lot of businesses fill their employees days up with really low grade 'work' (meetings, form filling, fielding random emails) - so lots of folk put extra after-hours time in just to get more focussed tasks completed. There's also a growing culture of 'face time' - people hanging 'round just to make people think they're working hard.

Unless there's nothing in your life more fun than your job, I think it's worthwhile fighting to try and get everything done in your contracted hours, and getting off home ASAP. Spending all your time working doesn't make you a more fun, intelligent, sociable or experienced person. I'm really glad that I live in Europe, since I really value the time I've been able to spend travelling and doing interesting things (most folk here have >30 days of vacations a year).
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