What’s the Deal With Overtime After 8 Hours In A Day?

One of OUS’s “Big Three” takeaway proposals involves eliminating overtime after 8 hours in a day and limiting it to situations where we work over 40 hours in a week. There seems to be some confusion about how 8-hour overtime applies right now and how losing it could impact us.

Here are some of the questions we’ve heard:

Do employees on 4-10 schedules earn overtime after 8 hours in a day? NO. Classified employees in OUS who are working 4-10’s do NOT receive overtime pay when they go over 8 hours in a day. Article 25, Section 2 of our contract states clearly that people on 4-10 schedules are not eligible for overtime until they’ve worked 10 hours in a day. It would certainly be unfair if they did receive overtime after 8 hours. Besides, there would be no incentive for a supervisor to grant anyone such a schedule, if they had to pay them 8 hours of overtime each week.

Why pay overtime on a daily basis? The law only requires employers to pay overtime when people work beyond 40 hours in a week, but our contract for decades has recognized the inconvenience involved – often on short notice – when a person is required to work beyond their regular hours in a day. This is a benefit we should not just toss away.

How does this affect part-time employees? People who work part-time will almost never reach 40 hours in a week. If a part-timer is asked/told to work more than 8 hours in a day to complete a project, prepare for a conference, or meet some other necessary deadline, he/she would want to be paid overtime for the time worked beyond 8 hours. If we have a 40 hours in a week overtime standard, all that part-timer’s work that week would likely be straight time.

If I’m a full-time employee, won’t I get overtime anyway? That depends on your supervisor. Without daily overtime, some supervisors could try to manipulate schedules, in order to avoid paying overtime. They could tell a person who works more than 8 hours on Tuesday to leave early on Friday, so they don’t go over 40 hours for the week. We certainly don’t want to make that kind of thing possible.

Are there other possible problems? Yes. Overtime is currently based on an employee’s paid time, but OUS is trying to shift that standard to hours actually worked. They don’t like the fact that a person can be sick or take vacation for 8 hours on Tuesday, work 10 hours on Thursday, and get paid 2 hours of overtime that week. They’d like to say that this person actually worked only 34 hours during the week and so never reached the 40 hour threshold for overtime.

Why is OUS proposing to end daily overtime? OUS says it’s in order to save money. Our SEIU Bargaining Team has asked them to tell us how much they think they would save by eliminating daily overtime. That was two bargaining sessions and more than a month ago and they have not given us an answer yet.

We classified employees have our own priorities for these negotiations – things like no increase in our health insurance premium share, a decent cost-of-living raise, full regular steps, and no furlough days. These are important and reasonable goals, but we are going to have to fight hard to achieve them. If we give up without much of a struggle on valuable things OUS wants to take away from us, like daily overtime, they will have little reason to believe we will fight for the things we’ve told them are our priorities.

SEIU Local 085