Can We Be Sent Home To Avoid Overtime?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about hours:

If I have gone over my weekly hours can my boss send me home early, rather than pay me the overtime?

Signed, Wondering

Dear Wondering:

Hello, thanks for contacting us. Generally, in both the US and UK, employers can adjust schedules to avoid paying overtime. In fact, it is a fairly common practice–and one that is encouraged in most companies as well as government. However, to be on the safe side, you may want to check with your Department of Labor or a similar group, to see if there are laws that affect this issue.Although many employees do not want to work more than a standard work week, many employees prefer to not have their work schedule be so irregular. And, it’s frustrating to work many hours later one day, but not get paid anything extra for it, because the shift is shortened the next day.Sometimes this practice of adjusting shifts is a result of management not planning their staffing schedules very well. But, you may not be able to do anything about it if you stay working there.If your company is a large one, you might find out if every section is doing the same thing, or if this is just something your manager or supervisor is doing to look good. Probably that is not the case, but it might be worthwhile to check on. You might also talk to your supervisor about this and see if schedules can be adjusted or changed to prevent extra work hours. Such extra hours can be very punitive for people with families or those who go to school or have other set activities after regular work hours.Best wishes as you work to either get this changed, or to find a way to make it work within your specific lifestyle and needs.

Tina Lewis Rowe