How to manage an employee working unauthorised over-time

As an employer, it is important to know what hours your employees are working each week, in order to ensure we are compliant with employment legislation. The Organisation of Working Time Act 1997 sets out the maximum hours an employee can work each week.

If you have an employee who works several hours overtime every day, you could be in breach of legislation and need to take the appropriate steps to ensure it doesn’t continue.

Firstly it needs to be established if the employees’ workload is too big and if so, delegate some of the persons’ duties elsewhere. It could also be the case that the employee in question is struggling in their role and requires additional training or support. Exactly what the problem is can be found out by meeting the employee on an informal basis to discuss the matter in greater detail.

However, if it is found that the employee doesn’t have an excessive workload and there are no capability issues, it is advisable to set out clear instructions for working overtime.

You can implement an overtime policy which clearly states all overtime needs to be authorised by senior management. Managers and supervisors should be appropriately trained on how to deal with employees who breach the policy to ensure consistency. Once the policy is enforced, any employee found in breach of the policy can be disciplined accordingly.

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