All workers have the right to just and favourable conditions of work and to equal pay for equal work.
However, it is often unclear to workers whether they are entitled to be paid overtime. It can be customary practice in a particular industry to take such hours into account when fixing remuneration, rather than providing overtime payments. Generally, all hours worked in excess of normal working hours should be considered overtime hours, depending on local law requirements and the employment contract (if there is one). Employers must ensure they comply with their legal obligations to pay overtime, and not withhold information or fail to monitor or record overtime hours.
Workers in certain industries (especially in manufacturing and in private households) are often required by their employers to work hours in excess of their normal hours without receiving the overtime pay required by law. Research shows that many low-wage workers, especially those in the garment and hardware manufacturing industries, are routinely unpaid for overtime work. This adds to the challenges facing minimum wage workers who may rely on overtime pay for survival.
A number of lawsuits have been filed against employers for overtime pay violations, including for withholding overtime pay, making employees work “off the clock” and withholding tips. Business owners and managers need to ensure that they are not unintentionally violating relevant regulations and conventions by failing to have a clear and concise system in place for workers to record and claim overtime pay. Care should also be taken to ensure that overtime is paid on time.