Effects of unregulated overtime work

Overtime must be regulated and treated within the ambit of the law. A carelessly managed overtime work could lead to negative consequences for the organization as well as the individual workers. Some of the effects of a badly managed overtime system are:

1. Increased overhead cost and payout
The benefits of overtime work and payout should be weighed against its cost if the job could be pushed to normal working hours it would be in the best interest of the organization. Overtime pay is an additional expense that should necessarily be met by a corresponding revenue generation or productivity increase.

2. Idleness during the normal work period
Except there is a checklist or an automated system to check workers commitment at their official time, a phony employee might decide to waste time on frivolities during the official work hours only to request for overtime at the expense of the organization.

3. Fatigue and breakdown
One attendance consequences of unregulated overtime are the excess burden and stress that is placed on the staff. Rest is a necessary requirement for healthy living and when this is compromised it could lead to fatigue, shoddy performances and in some cases breakdown of the employee.

4. The rise in medical needs and bills
Following on the heels of the above point is the negative impact on medical related illnesses, absenteeism, and rise in medical calls and bills by the staff and organization. This on its own will ultimately override the benefits of overtime; hence it should be properly regulated.


Section 13, subsection (2) of the Nigerian labor Act justifies the legality of overtime work as cited in the preceding paragraphs. Also, it should be noted that overtime work is regulated by law in order to prevent employers from forcing workers to work long hours without their consent and without compensating them adequately for such commitment.


Although not expressly stated in the Act, however, it is standard practice all over the world to exempt some categories of workers from being paid overtime allowance. This does not mean that they cannot work long hours beyond their official scheduled, such extra is seen as part of their work by reason of their position and remuneration.
This rule applies to those in managerial positions, such as managers and supervisors or anyone who direct two or more full-time workers and whose earning is above a certain benchmark.
In fact, in some countries, this will include anyone who has a determining say in the hiring and firing of a junior worker.


In the absence of a direct supervisor that compromises on his or her responsibility and deliberately tries to please a subordinate by granting extended work hours so that such staff could earn additional pay, it is recommended that important checklist should be in place before overtime work is granted.
Firstly, it must be asked, can this task be completed within the normal work hours? If yes, then it should be done within the stipulated time frame. If no, we should ask, can it be deferred to the next working day? If it can, then it should wait until the next day.
Secondly, before overtime work is clocked in; it must have the express approval and permission of a supervisor or staff immediate boss.
Thirdly, a specific timeline must be set for the completion of the task that has been extended to ensure that the task does not drag unnecessarily.
Lastly, a threshold must be established to determine those who are not entitled to overtime benefits and for those who are, a benchmark for the maximum overtime that can be done per month should be documented.


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