A look at overtime laws around the globe

  • Overtime is the amount of time where a worker works beyond regular working hours. Many countries around the globe have overtime laws to safeguard employees’ exploitation by employers through forcing them to work for long hours. These laws are made by taking into account the employees’ health and their related productivity.

    If they work excessively for long hours, their health may suffer so as their productivity. Such laws are also made to increase the employment level in the country. If employers take excessive work from the existing employees, they won’t bother to hire recruits. If overtime laws are made, they are bound to hire new workers who will ultimately result in decreasing unemployment. In many cases, employers offer high pay rate per each hour of overtime work. They do so to avoid hiring recruits at a much higher pay rate.

    How many of you want to work where labour laws are strictly followed? Every one of us. But unfortunately, we have to work where we live and thus have to follow the laws prevailing in our country. Below are overtime laws in brief in some countries around the globe.


    According to the Labor Standards Act of Japan, employees must work 40 hours per week, i.e., eight hours a day. Employers are bound to give a premium of 25% of ordinary hourly wage for overtime work, 35% on overtime work on off days and 25% for overtime work at night, i.e., between 10 pm to 5 am. Employers have to make an agreement on overtime terms and conditions with the labour union leader.


    Very few countries in the world offer the best working hours and working conditions. Australia is one of the countries around the globe which is offering best overtime pay rate. Sacrificing your sleep or your weekend funs will worth it in Australia if you work overtime.


    As per the law of United States Department of Labor “Fair Labor Standards Act,” employee has to be premium-paid for any overtime work more than 40 hours per week. If an employee refuses to work overtime, the employer has all the rights to fire him/her. FSLA does not bound employers to give employees extra pay for weekend or night work. However, if an employer wants, he can agree with employees’ representative to give extra pay for weekends or night work.

    United Kingdom

    In the UK, if the employees’ contract makes them bound to work overtime, only then they have to work for extra hours. Otherwise, they can’t be forced to work for more than an average of 48 hours per week. Employers do not necessarily need to pay for overtime. However, the worker’s pay should not fall less than minimum pay wage of UK laws. In other cases, the employee can say “yes” to overwork through the proper settlement of terms and conditions in the agreement. There are no specific premium rates fixed for night work in the UK legislature. There are also no defined overtime rates by the Government. Overtime rates can be mutually decided upon between employer and employee.


    In China, overtime laws are strict. Employers are bound to pay for extra working hours beyond 40 hours per week under Chinese Labor law. The law in China also bound the employer to restrict how much he can take extra work from the employee.

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