According to the Los Angeles Times, on average, an American employee works one extra day every week. After the fearful experience of recession, employees are desperate to prove their commitment to work and to find a place on their boss’s favorite list. Many cite the ground that the salary from their regular 9 to 5 job is not sufficient to meet the ever increasing demands of modern high-tech life. If there is the overtime option, they accept it gladly.
But over time has downsides too and when you take these into account, you won’t find many reasons to rejoice. Before running after the dollar sign inform yourself on the probable pros and cons of doing overtime and only then decide if working extra hours is really worth it.
If you are working extra hours, that means you are not falling behind on your work and there is no backlog. Some projects require more commitment than 40 hours a week and those employees who strictly maintain this hour count may not be able to finish on time.
Doing overtime means earning extra money. Following the Fair Labor Standard Act, an employee should get 1.5 times more per hour when he/she works beyond 40 hours a week. This means putting the same amount of effort, you receive more for the extra hours. Then why not go for this?
Companies always prefer employees who are flexible with respect to time and are always there when they need emergency support. They are likely to be the last choices when it comes to layoffs. Moreover, these employees are considered for promotion earlier than others.
Reduced quality of work
Overtime can be a short term solution, but you can not go on working 50 or more hours a week for long. Your productivity is definitely going to diminish and errors are likely to occur.
No matter how much you love your work, it is difficult to work overtime at a stretch for long. You are going to burn out and feel exhausted. The work will not remain appealing anymore and you would not be able to show the same level of performance.
Not really extra money
Working extra hours doesn’t always bring you extra income in the same proportion. There are mainly two reasons behind this.
- Your overtime income is going to be taxed. You may end up needing to consult with a tax relief specialist. Consumers Advocate.org has a list of the 10 best companies that can help with this. It happens that without the overtime income you were liable to pay lower taxes. Once the overtime income is added to it, you reach a higher taxation slab, causing you more tax burden. What is the net result? Most of the extra income is gone. The only good news is that your original income is taxed at the old rate.
- According to the new overtime pay rule, workers who earn less than $50,440 per year are eligible to overtime pay. Higher income earners are exempted from protection and the number is nearly 50 million in America. More work doesn’t bring more money to them.
Work life balance
Staying extra time in office means you have less time for your family or social life. Your family and kids are going to miss you and that may affect your relationships. All these cause extra stress in life and, in turn, affects your concentration at work.
It is not difficult to understand that if you stress yourself too much, you are likely to develop severe health problems. Most common among these is depression. Many times, too much pressure from work leads people to commit suicide. The stress of work results in heavy alcohol consumption. For women, this has been found to be correlated with lack of reproduction capacity and delivery problems.
Those involved in manual labor, suffer from back pain and other injuries. People in white-collar jobs complain about high blood pressure and nervous breakdown.
Studies conducted in America and outside have generated the same conclusion that workers who stress themselves too much are more prone to workplace injuries than those who work for a limited time. Injuries are sometimes so serious that they lead to permanent incapability to work.
If you work overtime regularly, this will be like a steady source of income for you. You will count the money in your monthly budget and increase your expenses accordingly. In case the overtime option is not there, you will find it difficult to finance your expenses.
As wage increase is falling behind the increase in the general price level, it is quite natural that Americans are keen to work extra. More so, if the extra efforts are duly valued. But make sure you don’t stress yourself to the level where you risk your productivity. In my opinion, over time can not be a permanent solution.