Overtime is the amount of time someone works beyond ''normal working hours''. Normal hours may be determined in several ways:
*by custom (what is considered healthy or reasonable by society),
*by practices of a given trade or profession,
*by agreement between employers and workers or their representatives.
Most nations have overtime labor laws designed to dissuade or prevent employers from forcing their employees to work excessively long hours. These laws may take into account other considerations than the humanitarian, such as preserving the health of workers so that they may continue to be productive, or increasing the overall level of employment in the economy. One common approach to regulating overtime is to require employers to pay workers at a higher hourly rate for overtime work. Companies may choose to pay workers higher overtime pay even if not obliged to do so by law, particularly if they believe that they face a backward bending supply curve of labour.
Overtime pay rates can cause workers to work longer hours than they would at a flat hourly rate. Overtime laws, attitudes toward overtime and hours of work vary greatly from country to country and between different economic sectors.
==Time off in lieu==
''Time off in lieu''; ''compensatory time''; or ''comp time'' refers to a type of work schedule arrangement that allows (or requires) workers to take time off instead of, or in addition to, receiving overtime pay. A worker may receive overtime pay plus equal time off for each hour worked on certain agreed days, such as bank holidays.
In the United States, such arrangements are currently legal in the public sector but not in the private sector.〔See 29 U.S.C. 207(o)〕
For example, non-exempt workers must receive at least one and one half times their normal hourly wage for every hour worked beyond 40 hours in a work week. For example, workers who clock 48 hours in one week would receive the pay equivalent to 52 hours of work (40 hours + 8 hours at 1.5 times the normal hourly wage). With comp time, the worker could (or would have to) forgo the 12 hours of overtime pay and instead take 8 paid hours off at some future date.
In some other jurisdictions, such as Canada, employers might be required to pay the overtime at the higher rate (e.g. 1.5 times the normal rate), but also be allowed to require time off in lieu at the normal rate. Thus, an employee might work 48 hours in one week, and 32 hours the next week (assuming over 40 hours is overtime), and be paid an extra amount equivalent to 4 hours work (8 multiplied by 0.5).
In Australia, such arrangements both in the private and public sector are common.
In some cases, particularly when employees are represented by a labor union, overtime may be paid at a higher rate than 1.5 times the hourly pay. In some factories, for example, if workers are required to work on a Sunday, they may be paid twice their regular rate, i.e., double time.
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