A company I'm prospecting has many employees who work more than 40 hours per week (from what I've surveyed, the average is 45-55), and very regularly. However, the position that I would be filling is an engineering position in which every other employee is salaried.

I value my time highly, and would prefer not to have work encroach on my other activities.

That said, is it reasonable to ask to be paid hourly, with the equivalent of the salary @ 40 hrs per week minus company holidays? Is there any way I can strongly justify it on my end?

I do not have my PE (Principles of Engineering) exam certification, so I cannot legally do contract or consulting work.

  • Do you believe that being paid hourly will mean that you won't have to work more than 40 hours a week, thus encroaching on your other activities?
    – sf02
    Aug 2, 2019 at 19:43
  • @sf02 nope. just compensation for it.
    – user53861
    Aug 2, 2019 at 19:44
  • A part of getting a salaried good paying job in a high paying industry is working over 40 hours per week. If the pay is under-average for your area, then it's reasonable to question. Working 9 hour shifts...is this with an hour paid lunch? (That would make 40 hours per week minimum.)
    – adamaero
    Aug 2, 2019 at 20:39
  • @AdamUraynar employees are expected to work and eat
    – user53861
    Aug 2, 2019 at 20:41
  • 1
    @AdamUraynar It's not explicit, but it's the culture to work completely through it. Officially, they pay over lunch, and recommend that the employees take a break.
    – user53861
    Aug 2, 2019 at 20:45

4 Answers 4


I value my time highly, and would prefer not to have work encroach on my other activities.

Even before discussing this with the management, the question you should be asking yourself is whether you are willing to work at an organisation where such overtime work may be the norm?

Your statement sounds a bit contradictory. On one hand, you prefer not to have work encroach on your other activities, but are willing to put in extra hours if you are paid. It may not sound reasonable when you put it this way.

An appropriate way to approach this situation would be to ask your employer if your job involves overtime work? and if yes, is overtime compensated in term of equivalent hourly pay?

Some employers consent to it while some may not (varying from the nature of the business and practises prevalent in local market).

If overtime is paid in your market, it generally is calculated in the same manner as you deduced.

On the other hand, if overtime pay is not practised in the workplace (and you are not bringing extra ordinary skills to the table which gives you an edge to negotiate for time or money), your request may not get consented to.

  • 2
    That's a good point. what I mean is that I value my work, but I value my free time more.
    – user53861
    Aug 2, 2019 at 18:23

Is there any way I can strongly justify it on my end?

You can try by saying "I value my time highly, and would prefer not to have work encroach on my other activities."

But realistically, if every other employee is salaried, there is no way they will bring in a new engineer as an hourly employee. If this is an important issue for you, you should move on from this company and start prospecting others.

If being an hourly worker is important enough to you, you should consider working as a contractor in some field that permits it, or finding the kind of job where workers are traditionally paid on an hourly basis, rather than being salaried. For example, I believe you wrote that you wanted to be a mason, and I believe that masons are paid hourly.

If instead you are actually just seeking to avoid working more than 40 hours per week, you can still find a salaried job where employees don't tend to work extra. Some companies can provide that kind of culture. Read the job description - companies that "promote work/life balance" tend to require fewer hours. Ask about that during interviews.

  • And in the USA you will probably by law be salaried as this is how I understand exempt and non exempt works. Aug 3, 2019 at 11:02

I work in automotive manufacturing, our engineers work way more than 40 hrs a week, not paid over 40. However they have salaries that start at 90k a year without a degree. ( they are company sponsored “engineers”. From my experience you can find a 40 hr salaried job but it will be a lower salary 60k or less. Now if you have a bachelors or higher then sure you can find a decent 40hr job

  • Even though it's not an answer, I'd like to keep it here as it provides a good look into similar industries.
    – user53861
    Aug 5, 2019 at 14:16

Ensure that "extra work" is compensated with additional equivalent time off. In some cases a rate of 1.5 hrs per hr ends up providing you with more time off. Win win.

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