There are times when employers run into financial trouble or want to start cutting down on expenses. When that happens, they may try to put an overtime ban into place. An overtime ban in your office might state that no one is allowed to work more than 40 hours in a week. If they do so or reach a point where any further time at work would result in overtime pay, then they should stop working.
It is completely legal for your employer to ask that you don’t work over your scheduled hours. However, it is not legal to forbid overtime and then refuse to pay if someone happens to go over. Anyone who works overtime is entitled to being paid so long as they are not in an exempt position.
Why would an employer prohibit overtime?
An employer could prohibit overtime for a number of reasons. They might say that they don’t want you to work over 40 hours to cut down on workplace stress. They may be trying to encourage people to work their own hours instead of picking up extra shifts for workers who aren’t putting in the normal amount of time on the job. They may even want to reduce costs by limiting overtime to only what’s necessary.
It is still important to note that any overtime you have will need to be paid appropriately. If you have to work 50 hours because two people are out sick and you’re covering their shifts, then that’s what you need to do. If you will be going against the employer’s request not to work more than 40 hours, you should ask permission to take the extra shifts. With approval, there is usually no problem. However, if you continue to violate the rule, there is a possibility that your employer could penalize you by cutting down your hours in the future or taking other steps to prevent you from working when they asked you not to.
The one thing they cannot do, though, is refuse to pay you for the time worked. Keep that in mind if you have a conflict with your employer over overtime worked.