So I have been working in this company for an year now and the only problem I am facing since then is that I am forced to stay in office even my working hours are completed.

We are not paid overtime here. 10 A.M to 7.30 P.M is our working time, means 9 hours 30 minutes. We have already discussed that this timing is too much for a Software Engineer but they didn't take any action.

Currently, I am the only resource they have for projects so I am forced to stay and complete the tasks. They burden me with tasks and when it is time to leave they ask me to stay as tasks are not being completed. It is okay for me to survive this once, twice or thrice a month but this happens on regular basis. I always feel fed up as I have some other hobbies, interests or tasks to complete as a Freelancer too.

How should I tackle such boss? Isn't it my right to ask them that I can't stay more as I have other activities to do?

  • 16
    Looks like you need to look for a new job. A "normal" working time of 9 hours and 30 minutes isn't normal, and forcing you to work extra unpaid is just insane.
    – sf02
    Jan 30, 2019 at 18:20
  • 4
    If you are salaried (not paid by the hour), then in general you have the choice to work longer or refuse, and they have the option of accepting your decision to limit work hours or firing you. In the US, there is very little recourse for salaried employees when work hours are long, other than to leave. Other countries have more rules about work hours, but in the US it is not at all uncommon for some employers to work their staff almost exactly the 37.5 hours a week that are normal working hours - and in others if you don't work 80 hours you are out.
    – BrianH
    Jan 30, 2019 at 18:21
  • 4
    I too would brush off my resume and start looking elsewhere.
    – DreDre0623
    Jan 30, 2019 at 18:29
  • 1
    "They didn't take any action" is too passive. Take action yourself. Tell them you will no longer be working so many hours. Then they can either accept it or fire you.
    – stannius
    Jan 30, 2019 at 18:40
  • 8
    Can you add a tag with your location? That will help people provide relevant answers. Most people here default to US-based answers, but in other areas, there may be laws or regulations regarding your question.
    – dwizum
    Jan 30, 2019 at 18:41

5 Answers 5


We are not paid overtime here. 10 A.M to 7.30 P.M is our working time, means 9 hours 30 minutes. [...]

Several red flags I see, however to answer your actual question...

If your working hours are already indicated, ending at 7:30pm, then by all means you are in full rights to leave after the end time or after you fulfill those 9.5 hours.

Now about the red flags. Doing overtime without payment is surely not beneficial to you, and being "forced" to stay doesn't seem to be like the best work environment. To worsen things, you indicate you have already brought this to the manager's attention, and no action has been taken...

... Given all these things, it seems that it would be wise of you to update your CV and start seeking a job elsewhere (somewhere that at least has payed overtime, for your sake), as you will only end up burnout and continue to be exploited.


Ah the good 'ol days of forced labour and slavery...


...in western countries legally anyways

Your options are:
(chose any combination you like)

  • find another job and quit
  • Simply leave when your contractual time is over
    1)they can't physically prevent you from leaving
    (that pesky unlawful imprisonment thing)
    -they might terminate your contract out of spite though
    2) legally you have the law on your side(again,depending on country)
  • Tell them the deadline is too short
  • let them know you have other, private obligations (helps if you have a family, small children etc.)
  • Involve a union or employment lawyer
  • Flat out tell them you're willing to do overtime if a delivery is up but you won't stay every day way over your contractual hours
  • Whistleblow or leave an anonymous tip at the controlling governmental body

About that time thing, keep in mind that your breaks are quite often not included in your time (depending on contract / law in locale)

So 9 hours at work including a lunchbreak and two smaller breaks count pretty much as an 8 hour workday...

Read your contract to be certain.

...Oh and if you're held against your will, involve authorities immediately.

-> call the POLICE

  • A really outstanding answer. It's a shame when other contributors make it more complicated than this.
    – Fattie
    Jan 30, 2019 at 20:34
  • @Fattie cheers mate! Rock on! Jan 30, 2019 at 20:37

Okay... Standard warning here. Update your resume and float it.

Once you start to get interviews, pushback HARD

Don't mention that you've been on interviews or have offers (if any).

But, when you do, you can go in and negotiate from a position of strength. At that time, make your desires known. You don't want to deliver an ultimatum, but you want to state clearly that.

  1. You are not satisfied with the hours
  2. You are not satisfied with the pay
  3. You expect them to address this immediately, and give them a timeframe.

If they don't at that point address it, they never will, and you will know it's time to move on.

If they do, then you can stay at your job with the new pay and/or hours.

  • Having "interviews" isn't really much leverage to push back tho...
    – solarflare
    Jan 30, 2019 at 22:31
  • @solarflare if you get the interviews, you'll have an offer. Jan 30, 2019 at 23:43
  • I dont know about you but I've flunked more interviews than I've gotten offers.
    – solarflare
    Jan 31, 2019 at 0:20
  • Just a warning: you don't want to negotiate shorter hours compared to the rest of your coworkers. Because every coworker you have is going to be working 9+ hours and see you leave after 8 each day, and your manager is going to see you as the troublesome one that doesn't "put in a full day." If the hours are a deal-killer, it's better to just flat leave - not negotiate them.
    – Kevin
    Jan 31, 2019 at 14:16
  • @solarflare My hit rate is 1 offer per 3 interviews, the standard is 1 per 10, but I am VERY experienced and taught classes on it. Still, get the interviews, and you'll be able to leave. Jan 31, 2019 at 14:24

Figure out how long it's personally optimal to stay.

I had a job at a company that, while not quite as bad as yours, was pretty terrible. Our boss printed out charts every monday with the hours everyone had worked the week before. If you were the person who worked the least, you'd get chewed out. Sure, you put in hours of unpaid overtime, but you didn't put in as many hours as the others. So you'd get reamed a bit - to encourage you to not be the person who put in the least.

I worked there for ~18 months, and I wouldn't change anything looking back. I improved my SQL skills substantially, going from "I can generally write simple Select statements" to "Bordering on full-fledged DBA". I got exposure to some better programming styles as well as experience being a PM for a project I was in charge of.

You are probably going to want to move on to another job - you'll probably get burnt out staying where you are for too long. But keep an eye on when it'll be optimal for you to leave. If you're developing valuable skills/abilities, it might be worth it to suck things up for a little while, until the amount you're learning/improving is outweighed by the stress of the job. If you're not getting much value out of the job right now? You should probably move on as soon as you can.

  • Wish we could add that company to "the list"
    – Trevor
    Jan 30, 2019 at 18:50
  • Yeah. What was really sad, and was the thing that ultimately convinced me to leave was... it seemed everyone working there was either single, divorced, in marriage counselling, or relatively new to the company. None of the people there more than 5 years had a happy home life. Everyone trudged out of the building at the end of the day, unhappy and miserable... and it didn't take a genius to realize that the reason their home lives were bad was because they were taking that moodiness home with them.
    – Kevin
    Jan 30, 2019 at 18:53
  • @Kevin exactly man, such work life balance also affects relations with family and friends. Jan 30, 2019 at 18:56

This is just building off other answers (by the way, Welcome!).

Personally, I would say: If your other obligations are family or scheduled items or necessary for your physical or mental health; do not stay at work. Ensure long before the day is over that these prior engagements are known to your supervisor and coworker in advance.

If this is "once, twice, or thrice," and does nothing other than inconvenience you, then let them know. I suspect you are in a country where making demands or reaching out to HR are not options, so play it cool. Make known your schedule in advance, so you have at least the opportunity to say you were planning on not staying after 7:30 and it was made clear earlier.

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