Skip to Main Content

Should I be paid for working overtime?

There seem to be many mistaken beliefs regarding overtime in the workplace. If you’re behind on a particular project at the office and you’d really like to get it off your plate that’s overflowing with other things, you probably thought about toiling until it gets done, even if that means you’re technically off the clock.

It might be wise to get your company’s policy regarding working overtime, even though those hours don’t have to be Okayed by your boss in order for you to get paid for them. If the company does have a policy that speaks to overtime and you disregard it, you may just find yourself being taken to task by your boss if you didn’t ask to work over your allotted hours.

Punching the clock or not?

If you’re a salaried employee, you’re just as entitled to overtime hours as are employees earning an hourly rate. You can either be monetarily compensated or receive time in lieu of those hours you worked.

When your boss hands you an iPhone and expects you to check work messages when you’re not on work time … guess what? That can count as overtime, too. You may want to look into whether your company has rules regarding when these messages should be checked and/or responded to.

Here are a couple of other overtime myths:

  • If you’re paid an hourly wage you might think you’ll be paid for every overtime hour automatically. Think again. There are some unethical employers around who are waiting for you to forget to put in for it, and they won’t go out of their way to ask you.
  • Not all labour laws in Canada are the same. They differ from province to province. The one constant is that those who work more than 40 to 44 hours a week are owed overtime or one-and-a-half times their standard pay.
  • Everyone who works overtime, usually claims it -- not true. Many employees feel pressured not to claim overtime hours because they are afraid of missing out on other things like promotions or raises.

Overtime averaging

You could average your work hours over two or more weeks to calculate your overtime pay. But for any overtime averaging to be on the level in Ontario, your employer has to get the green light from the ministry of labour and post that application where you’ll see it. When your boss gets the OK, that approval must also be posted within your sight.

Any agreement you made with your boss to work overtime hours can be cancelled by giving him or her with two weeks’ notice. Similarly, your boss can also decide to cancel an agreement with reasonable notification.

If you’re working during an averaging period and you quit your job, you’re entitled to the regular rate of pay for the hours you worked during the part of the averaging period that you actually worked. If you’re fired or laid off, you’re entitled to overtime pay for all the hours you worked more than the required 40 multiplied by the number of weeks in the averaging period that you completed.