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How Do I Reduce Overtime?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2016
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There are a number of ways in which you can reduce overtime, though the best approach often depends on the particular needs and operations of your business. One of the first things you should consider is the cause of overtime for your business and whether you really need to reduce it. If you do need to reduce overtime, then you should consider restructuring or better managing work schedules and the timetables for project completion. You should also consider the possibility of expanding your operation, which can potentially be less expensive than ongoing overtime costs.

Overtime is a type of financial compensation paid to employees who work more than a set number of hours each week. In the US, for example, employees typically qualify for overtime once they work more than 40 hours in any give week. There are some exceptions to this, however, such as managers and other salaried employees who are guaranteed a set amount of pay regardless of how many hours they work each week.

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If you need to reduce overtime pay, then you should first consider the source of overtime in your business. You may, for example, have one or two employees who have become fairly dependent on overtime pay, and it is possible that they may be abusing the system to continue receiving this increased pay. If this is the case, then you should speak to these employees and warn them that they are going to be required to work only their set time each week and not go over. It is also possible that you have a larger overtime problem, in which case you may need to focus on better time management for your business to reduce overtime.

Overtime can be caused by mismanagement of time and scheduling of employees. If this has caused overtime issues for your business, then you should look at ways in which you can reduce overtime by changing scheduling practices. You can, for example, create more flexible schedules for employees who have family obligations, while also creating more room within your company’s schedule for projects to be completed without going into overtime. It is also possible that you do not actually need to reduce overtime, and you may find that overtime only occurs at certain times when it is acceptable and offset by increased production and revenue.

If you find that overtime continues to be an ongoing problem, despite adjustments to scheduling and elimination of individual problems or abuses of the system, then you might consider expanding your business. Overtime can be caused by insufficient means of production or too few employees to complete tasks or provide services to customers. You should consider new hardware or more employees to reduce overtime and improve productivity for your entire business. This should only be done after analysis of your business needs and production, however, as hiring new employees can potentially be more expensive than overtime pay.

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Buster29
Post 2

I know some unscrupulous owners or managers try to compel employees to fill out two different time cards in order to avoid overtime pay. Instead of compensating one employee for overtime hours, there are two regular time paychecks issued instead. I've also seen some employers ask employees to work overtime hours one week and take off the equivalent amount of time during the second week of the pay period.

I think a much better way of reducing overtime is to set realistic but aggressive production goals and encourage workers to meet those goals within regular time hours. There could also be financial or personal incentives attached to those production goals, like a bonus in the paycheck or personal time off. Some people are more productive if they are given some incentive to get their work done faster.

AnswerMan
Post 1

When I worked full time as a meat cutter in a buffet restaurant, I shared the workload with another full time employee. When we left at 5pm, there was usually a part-time worker who cleaned up the meat storage room and handled any shortages. As long as that employee did even a minimal amount of busy work, none of us ever had to go into overtime.

The manager decided to let that employee go, however, in an effort to save money on wages. This meant at least one of us had to stay late and do all of the closing tasks. Trying to save money by firing one employee resulted in losing money by putting more work on the other meat cutters. I say one way to reduce overtime hours is to hire someone willing to work part-time in order to take up the workload without anyone else getting overtime pay.

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