Working Overtime

A Guide to Working Overtime

When businesses fall behind on projects or deadlines, they often present the notion of working overtime.

However, there are specific legal and moral requirements needed before initiating this. It’s not as simple as asking employees to stay behind and work longer than normal. One bad move and you could end up breaching contracts and legislation.

Let’s take a look at what working overtime means, what the law covers, and how to manage it in a compliant manner.

What is working overtime?

Working overtime is when an employee works beyond their normal contractual hours.

They’ll either work overtime voluntarily or involuntarily. For example, if they’re contractually obliged to work overtime once a month. Or, if they’ve been asked to help out during an unexpected busy period.

The rules on hours and pay vary when it comes to overtime work. That’s because it depends on what type of work is being done, how many extra hours are needed, and what the pay rate is.

If you plan on initiating overtime, it’s important to adhere to the law. Employers should also be sympathetic when it comes to taking efficient rest periods or having commitments outside of work. If not, you could end up losing valuable and talented staff.

What are the advantages of working overtime?

There are countless reasons why companies offer overtime. Let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • Need more time to reduce or complete the workload.
  • Missed the deadline for a certain task or project.
  • Currently low in staff numbers.
  • Helping employees earn more money.
  • Dealing with unforeseen business issues.

What are the disadvantages of working overtime?

Whilst the benefits may seem attractive, you can ignore the downsides to working overtime. For example:

  • Lead to potential health, safety, and welfare issues.
  • Need to budget for greater expenses.
  • Face an increase in absences (due to ill-health).
  • Employees feel obliged to work despite personal matters.
  • Could impact the quality and quantity of output.

Are you obliged to work overtime?

In the UK, there isn’t a specific law that outlines the rules on working overtime. Instead, employers need to refer to legislation relating to work hours, pay, and wellbeing.

An absence of legislation means employees aren’t legally obliged to work overtime. Meaning, you cannot force them to work more than 48 hours per week – regardless of whether they have a written or verbal contract.

This is outlined under the Working Time Regulations 1998. If an employee agrees to work more hours, they must sign an agreement to ‘opt-out’ of this right. (They also have a legal right to defer back to the maximum weekly limit).

Are you obliged to pay overtime work?

There is no law on how overtime works when it comes to payment. Meaning, employers aren’t legally required to pay for overtime hours. However, it’s very unlikely that employees will work for free!

Many businesses will pay their staff to work overtime. And they’ll usually offer one of three options as payment:

  • Statutory minimum wage rate.
  • Normal hourly rate.
  • Additional pay on top of their normal hourly rate.

A very common practice used by businesses is paying ‘time and a half’. How to work out overtime pay here is simple. The employee is paid their hourly rate plus an extra half – for every hour of overtime they complete.

However, many hours you offer as overtime, the average pay for the total hours must not fall short of the National Minimum Wage rate. If it does, you could be forced to pay back missing wages with compensation on top.

Do you get extra holidays for working overtime?

In the UK, employees can receive extra holidays for working overtime. From 2017, any employee who works regular overtime must have their hours included in their holiday pay and other compensations (like commission or bonuses).

Employers have a legal duty to calculate overtime hours into a minimum of four weeks for holiday pay. You can then choose to either pay their basic hours rate or amend it accordingly.

Since 2022, holiday pay for part-time workers who work overtime is based on the last 52 weeks worked. Employers are still legally obliged to apply the same overtime pay rules for both full and part-time employees.

How to manage employees working overtime

Now that we’ve looked at the benefits and laws, it’s up to you whether overtime will work in your business. If you do, here are a few steps to consider:

Outline your overtime terms

The first step you need to take is to outline your terms for working overtime. Include them within your company policies and handbooks so all employees have access to them.

It’s also a good idea to include them in employment contracts, even if certain employees won’t be asked to do overtime. Run this by your HR department to ensure your terms are lawful.

Keep track of all overtime hours and pay

Employers must keep track of all overtime hours and pay. This includes calculating how many hours individuals complete; as well as paying them accordingly. Remember, you cannot pay them less than the National Minimum Wage rate.

It’s also important to keep on top of any work benefits employees are entitled to. For example, commission pay, annual leave, bonuses, or other entitlements agreed to within their contracts.

Care for their wellbeing

Remember, employees who work regular overtime will be more tired than normal. So, make sure you care for their wellbeing as best as you reasonably can.

Make sure they’re taking breaks in accordance with their overall working hours. Some may legally be entitled to longer breaks depending on how many overtime days they’ve worked.

Be aware of presenteeism

Presenteeism is when an employee works despite being ill or sick. They may feel they can’t afford to miss out on overtime pay; or believe productivity will be affected if they don’t attend work.

Employers must ensure their staff are physically fit enough to work. Make sure people are eating and resting well. If a sick employee is worried about losing out on extra wages, send them home with the promise of making up lost hours.

 Love2shop can help you reward hard-working employees

When it comes to overtime work, employers must keep on top of hours, pay, wellbeing, and work benefits. If it’s done well, your productivity levels will sky-rocket – along with your revenue.

When employees are taken care of well, it leads to work satisfaction and engagement. Why not reward their efforts through Love2shop’s customer loyalty schemes? We guarantee there is a gift or incentive that’s suitable for all your hard-working overtimers.

Tips from the uninspirational boss

What’s better than a boss? That’s right, a cool boss who wants to be your mate or thinks they’re some sort of productivity guru.

Love2shop is proud of our expertise in employee engagement – but we are always on the lookout for mavericks with an alternative view of business.  We managed to find one of these big beasts of industry in the wild and sat him down to see what pearls of wisdom he could offer heading into 2024.

We thought he looked familiar – although we’ve spent so long in The Office it’s hard to know whether it’s just our minds playing tricks on us.

Never mind, here are the top five tips this uninspirational ‘legend of business’ had to offer:

1: Nothing drives people like a bit of fear. If you want a technique that’ll leave your team literally terrified, try the almighty “Envelope” technique.

2: Have you created an atmosphere at work where you’re a friend first, a boss second, and probably an entertainer third? Then go and get the guitar.

3: When it comes to management styles, you don’t always have to play by “the rules”. Take public appraisals for instance. Some staff love them. (Editors note: most do not)


4: This Christmas, tell your team that they will never work in a place like yours again. Fact. And they’ll never have another boss like you. Someone who’s basically a chilled-out entertainer. The signed photo might be a step too far though.

5: You might be chasing the bunce this Christmas (bunsen burner, nice little earner), but younger team members probably won’t be. Try motivational books. Avocados even.

Wow, so there you go. We have to say, as advice goes, that is pretty terrible. Rather than give yourself a major recruitment headache to start the year, why not simply Pass on the Love with Love2shop?

Our range of Love2shop Gift Cards, e-Gift Cards and vouchers are perfect for incentives, performance bonuses and gifts for your workforce. Whether it’s a thank you for being great or a ‘you smashed it’ for going above and beyond their targets, Love2shop incentives help you show your team that what they do really matters.

Cost of living rise presents big challenges – and there are ways to mitigate the impact

Evidence of the UK’s worsening cost of living crisis is becoming impossible to ignore – it is there in the data and in countless anecdotal examples.

One high street butcher, Raymond Millar, reports that his customers had already started saving for their Christmas dinner in July. His savings scheme that allows people to buy their meat for the festive season doesn’t usually start until September.

Then there is the GP, Dr Laurence Dorman, who for more than a year has been offering food vouchers to his patients. He is now giving them out with increasing frequency. Dr Dormam told the BBC the cost of living crisis could have “massive, profound implications” for patients’ health.

It feels like the price of everything is on the rise. As we emerged from the pandemic supply chains struggled to keep up with demand. This caused an initial spike in inflation and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine has accelerated the crisis.

Energy costs push inflation upwards

Russia is a major global source of oil and gas and the war has put huge constraints on supply. From June 2021 to June 2022 gas prices for UK households soared by 95% and electricity prices by 54%. The UK’s wholesale electric price is linked to the price of gas.

From October 1, the energy price cap will go up further. The price cap is a mechanism that sets the maximum amount that suppliers can charge in England, Scotland and Wales. From October the typical annual gas and electricity bill is likely to reach £3,358, according to consultancy Cornwall Insight.

In contrast, in October 2021 the average annual bill was just £1,400. And Cornwall Insight is forecasting this could go above £4,200 by January 2023. Millions of people are wondering whether they will be able to afford to switch the heating on at all this winter. This may dampen the enthusiasm from some for working from home.

Finance and consumer rights guru Martin Lewis, says: “This is a national crisis on the scale that we saw in the pandemic.”

Martin, and many others, are now calling on the government to take urgent action to soften the blow. From September it is likely that, whoever is prime minister, whether that’s Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, will be forced to act. Both have been vague on the issue during their campaigns. But once they take office, the pressure to act will be irresistible.

Inflation is now above 10% and the Bank of England is projecting it will hit 13% in the next few months, tipping the UK into recession. Food prices are rising rapidly in the shops. Who can forget the price of a tub of Lurpak surging above £9 in July?

Ukraine impact felt in the supermarkets

Again, the conflict in Ukraine is having a major impact. Ukraine is a leading exporter of essential commodities such as sunflower oil, grain, maize and wheat. The United Nations has warned global food costs could rise by 20%. The rising price of oil means the cost of moving food around is also much higher, adding to high prices.

Rising costs are also hitting businesses which are in turn facing the dilemma of whether or not to pass the costs onto their customers. Some cafes, bars and restaurants are considering reducing their opening hours to reduce outgoings, according to a study by eEnergy and Censuswide.

And even nipping out for a sandwich in your lunch break is now becoming more expensive. In the last few weeks both Boots and Co-op have hiked the prices of their meal deals. Outside London, Boots has put the price up from £3.39 to £3.59. In London it has gone up from £3.99 to £4.19.

Co-op’s meal deals have jumped in price from £3.50 to £3.75. And the nation’s favourite bakery chain, Greggs, is warning of rises of up to 9% on some products in the coming months.

There is upward pressure on the cost of getting to and from work. Motorists have already seen petrol prices at the pumps rocket. And public transport users face further unpredictability. Train tickets prices rise each January based on the retail price index from the previous July, plus 1%. This means commuters could face 12% fare rises in 2023.

Although still low by historical standards, interest rates are also on the rise. At the time of writing the Bank of England has pushed up rates to 1.75% from 1.25%. Those on fixed-rate mortgages have some protection for the moment. However, the average monthly cost of a tracker mortgage has increased by more than £160 since December 2021.

Simple actions that make a difference 

There are steps people can take to mitigate some of their daily outgoings. Sharing car journeys into work with colleagues could make a significant difference to fuel costs. As could using park and ride schemes. And although grocery prices are rising, taking your own lunch into work will always be cheaper than buying a sandwich.

And many coffee shops run loyalty schemes where you get a free hot drink after your card’s been stamped so many times, or a reduced price if you use a reusable cup. These smaller benefits can make a difference over time.

There are also things employers can do. There is an increasing number of businesses which are being pro-active. According to the Living Wage Foundation, 10,000 employers in the UK have now committed to paying the Real Living Wage. At £9.90 for most of the country and £11.05 in London, this is higher than the mandated National Minimum Wage.

In recent weeks there have been multiple reports of companies pledging one-off financial payments to help their people deal with the cost of living. One of those is Love2shop, which has offered a payment to all of its employees.

And the company is doing its bit for the wider community by partnering with digital payment business PayPoint. This agreement will see both parties expand their product range to provide local authorities with a new way of servicing the most financially at-risk people.

Employers can do their bit to help

Love2shop is also working with businesses across the country to help them offer real financial rewards and incentives through its Love2shop gifting products. Given the broad range of retailers available on Love2shop, it allows employers to meaningfully contribute to their employees’ cost of living dilemmas if that’s how they choose to spend their gift cards.

As well as the ‘treat’ opportunities with a Love2shop Gift Card, it’s also accepted by more than 150 leading UK consumer brands including Sainsbury’s, Argos, Tesco, Wilko, Iceland, Matalan, New Look, and Argos. So people can choose to buy everyday essentials or for those little luxuries.

With the new school year about to start, a multi-retailer gift card could offer great savings on the price of school uniforms or other essential items such as school shoes or a PE kit.

This is also the time of year when we start thinking about Christmas. People could use their gift card to get a head-start and buy gifts in advance, taking away some of the stress normally felt in November and December.

Some employers may be able to negotiate cheaper corporate discounts with local car parks to reduce parking costs, or allow more people to work from home when practical – if the costs don’t outweigh the costs of going to work considering the rising fuel costs come winter.

There are tough times ahead but employers can make a big difference to the lives of their employees for a modest outlay.

If you can see how Love2shop reward and recognition products could help your business, contact our business team today. Email [email protected] or call  0344 375 0739.

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Turning The ‘Great Resignation’ Into The ‘Great Retention’

The ‘Great Resignation UK’ isn’t a new term that’s emerged in the last few weeks, it’s the worrying, new term that deftly describes the global response of workers to the Covid pandemic, company culture, wage stagnation and ongoing cost of living crisis. It is the précis for: a mass resignation, change of jobs, search for a new way of life, desire for hybrid working, better pay and improved job satisfaction. Welcome to the challenges of 2022…

In the US, it’s called ‘The Big Quit’, with Microsoft Work Trend Index (2021) saying, “With over 40 per cent of the global workforce considering leaving their employer this year, a thoughtful approach to hybrid working will be critical for attracting and retaining diverse talent.” In Germany last summer, over one-third of the country’s companies reported a staff shortage, while the UK reported more than 1 million vacancies were available. So what does this summer look like for the UK’s staff retention?

HR Professionals Are Feeling The Burn

Most professionals working in HR, recruitment, talent acquisition or in sectors affected by the ‘Great Resignation’ will feel the new pressure to understand how to improve their company’s chances to retain and recruit staff.

Love2shop has one of the UK’s best-selling reward and recognition platforms. In the last year, Love2shop has increasingly been approached by a raft of sectors to discuss how their gifting rewards can be used to galvanise remuneration packages to attract new talent (and retain it), or more recently, help recognise the cost of living challenges being faced.

Love2shop Retailers - Iceland John Lewis Argos Heron Foods

Through the enormous choice of retailers and brands on the Love2shop gift products – stretching from luxury ones like John Lewis for a ‘treat’ or essential shopping brands such as Iceland, Argos or Heron Foods – Love2shop can provide ‘something for everyone’. This allows companies to buy in volume but not limit anyone from finding something to suit their needs.

It also reflects well on a company when it allows its employees to choose. When companies reward with an actual product, (think bottles of bubbly or bunch of flowers), it means an essential food shop is out of the question – and that might serve employees better right now. Equally, you never need to know so they can do it with dignity – and gratitude.

Four Million US Workers Have Quit Jobs Since 2021

The gravity of the job situation can’t be over-emphasised; many companies, large and small, face very real challenges to business growth as a direct result of being under-resourced and unable to attract into their industry the right sort of people. In the US, for instance, over four million workers quit their jobs since the post pandemic reset began in 2021. And in some global sectors, the average pay has been forced to sharply rise making smaller companies less able to compete in the recruitment face-off.

Boost Packages And Attract Staff With Reward and Recognition

How do you compete in the smaller pools of talent? Or engage and support your employees? Are there internal conversations exploring how to help them during this cost of living challenge? Now is a good time to make some decisions about quick but meaningful fixes that will retain and engage loyal employees or galvanise monthly income as its value dwindles in the face of our economic situation. And if you do want ‘something for everyone’, please contact our business team – everyone’s a good egg and happy to walk you through ideas.

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