I've been working here for a few months as a developer. Some people in our team are always behind on their work, and our boss makes everyone come to work on the weekend so they can catch up. The rest of us don't need to be in the office, but he insists we all come in.

We don't get paid for working weekends. When this first started, my boss said we would get days off in lieu, which was why I agreed. But he hasn't said anything about this in the past few months. I asked a coworker about this, a person who has worked here for several years, and he says they tell you that so you don't feel bad, but they never bother to make up the extra time.

We end up working 2 to 3 weekends per month, and it's always one of two people who are behind deadline. Before I joined, they were working every weekend, and sometimes they even worked 7-day weeks up to 10 p.m. everyday, though I have never had to do that.

The people who are always behind on their work are fine with working weekends. They don't have lives outside work - they've actually said they wouldn't know what to do if they went home and they'd end up just staring at the ceiling.

I do have a life outside work and I don't want to be working weekends for no reason. I was okay with this at first because I thought I would get the days back, but I now know that I won't. I want to say something about this to my boss, but the concept of working weekends is considered so normal that I don't know how he'll react, especially since they were working every weekend before I joined. I've worked around 12 weekends now and it was always because of someone else.

Short of leaving, is there an effective strategy such that I could either avoid working weekends, or get the days back?

  • 3
    This is in the United Arab Emirates. I'm not 100% clear on the laws, but in general, people don't get paid for overtime, they get compensated in terms of days off.
    – user88440
    Aug 5, 2018 at 18:01

3 Answers 3


If you really need or want to keep your current job continue reading, otherwise look for a better opportunity and resign once you've secured a new position.

...the end

So, you'd like to stay there.

One thing to consider is, are you being paid way above average for your position / expertise ? If so, it may be acceptable to you to just accept the situation.

Another factor is the laws in your country regarding these things. Get professional advice and take appropriate steps.

Should you only want to address the issue of weekend work, which it seems you want to then have a talk with your boss about the days that have been accumulated and ask to take some off. If the current project won't allow it, you can ask for payment instead or (if you're up for a gamble) say you'd like to take some or all of them off once the project is done. They might not honor their word if they allow you to take days off, so you could be back to square one after the project (mind you with a weaker bargaining position since your work is not immediately needed on the project anymore with it being finished and all).

-> If they won't consider giving you days off, won't give you payment instead and won't pay weekend work I'd like to direct your attention to the beginning of my answer.

I.E.: get a new job or stay (fully aware that you're basically a slave - at least partially)


I do not know how the work situation in the United Arab Emirates, but this situation is absurd!

You need to start looking for another job right away. And next time around, you need to interview your future potential co-workers to see when was the last time they took a vacation day, or the last time they worked on a weekend. If you ask concrete screening questions and ask lots of them, there is not much that can stay hidden from you.

Once you have other job offers lined up in front of you, you won't be afraid of getting fired.

That being said, if you're a good software developer, don't underestimate the leverage you have with your current boss. You need to speak to him privately. You did not choose your co-workers. He chose them. If they're not pulling their weight, he needs to fire them.

10 weekends is a huge amount of time. That's 20 days of free time that you're due. You need to start taking them, and not work any more weekends from now on.

And yes, your boss could fire you, but do you really think he'll just fire you for talking to him about this? If that's the case, you really do need to find another job. If you're that terrified of his reaction to a simple discussion like that, then it either means that you're over anxious in general, or that your boss is an abusive bully. If the latter is the case, you do need to find another job as quickly you can and leave that abusive situation (before that abusive situation feels normal to you).


I'm pretty sure that forcing anyone to work without a pay is illegal in all civilised countries. Not to mention overtime.

Call labor inspection or whoever is responsible for your rights in your country.

Even if your country doesn't require employer to pay for overtime, you should get your days-off.

  • 12
    This is a massive simplification of a really complex question across the entire world with zero regard for the intricacies involved...
    – enderland
    Aug 5, 2018 at 17:44
  • 3
    No, you're mistaken. There is no need to compilcate simple things. OP is working on the weekends and is not getting paid. Other things involved are of course important, but this is the crux of the situation.
    – Drakemor
    Aug 5, 2018 at 17:55
  • 11
    How does this answer apply to the United Arab Emirates? This looks like a quippy and "feels good" answer which may lead to the OP getting fired, because it doesn't take into account any cultural or country specific aspects (nor does it even attempt to).
    – enderland
    Aug 5, 2018 at 18:27
  • 4
    Are you sure this answer will work in the UAE?
    – Masked Man
    Aug 6, 2018 at 6:40
  • 3
    I am not entirely sure your statement is accurate. Working without compensation is slavery, slavery, was outlawed in the US for over 150 years.
    – Donald
    Aug 7, 2018 at 22:51

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