Ask HR: Can I shift workweeks to reduce overtime?

askHRDear HR:  We are busy, and are exploring the addition of one or possibly two shifts. We currently have a Sunday through Saturday work week, and have employees going into overtime sometimes as early as Thursday. We are wondering about having multiple work weeks with the intent of reducing overtime.


HR Answer:  There does not appear to be any wiggle room under State and Federal wage laws as far as tweaking work weeks or pay cycles to reduce overtime.  Sure, multiple work weeks are typically ok, but not for an individual employee as a tool to avoid or reduce paying overtime. The rule is 40 hours per week and work week always consists of 168 hours regardless of the day it starts and ends, or how many weeks are in any given pay cycle.  Adding additional work weeks to your payroll process would likely only confuse your employees and add to your labor costs. If you would like assistance with time tracking and payroll processing, please feel free to contact us.