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I'm an Italian junior developer at my first work experience, I was hired barely 1 year ago. I'm currently working in a project for a start-up, one of my company's clients. I joined this project a few weeks ago, but there are some of my co-workers who are on this project since the beginning of the year. The project is immense, there are a lot of things to do and management is quite demanding, plus the client is very very in a hurry. There are deadlines to meet.

My contract states I have to work from 9am to 6pm, but it happened once that I had to stay 1 hour longer, so I left at 7pm. The next day, I left on time but I had to work 1 hour from home, always because of a close deadline.

Both times I didn't request to be paid extra for my overtime, also because the process is quite difficult. To be paid for the overtime, it needs to be approved from my line manager, who isn't at the client office, but in my company headquarter. Also, I talked about this with one of my coworkers, who is also a junior developer, and he puts a lot of unpaid overtimes. He often leaves at 7pm, sometimes even at 8pm or 9pm, but he didn't get paid for this, because he simply didn't tell this to my line manager.

He said "If I need more time to work on my task, from the manager's perspective it could mean that I'm not good at doing my job, hence why I need more time. So, I shouldn't be paid, because it's my fault if I couldn't leave the office at 6pm"

Should I do the same, aka not request to be paid for my overtime whenever there is a deadline and I can't complete the task on time, and there is need to stay longer? What should I say or do the next time it happen?

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    The project is immense, there are a lot of things to do and management is quite demanding, plus the client is very very in a hurry. There are deadlines to meet. - Welcome to workplace!! – Sourav Ghosh Sep 26 at 14:02
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    "If I need more time to work on my task, from the manager's perspective it could mean that I'm not good at doing my job..." - Would any worker think this way? Suppose your job is to fix air conditioners. Maybe the best repairman can fix twice as many as you. Does that mean you need to work twice as many hours (without extra pay) to keep up with him? – Brandin Sep 26 at 14:44
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    What does your contract say about overtime? This is going to depend a lot on what that says and if there are any local laws applicable to you. – David K Sep 26 at 15:56
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    @Brandin but the air-conditioner-fixer would be comparing themself to the expectation for that role (based on level of seniority, experience, pay etc) rather than to the "best in the world" repairer. In the software world it may be that we have requirement X and a senior dev could do that in 4 hours but it would take the typical junior dev 12 hours. If it took a specific junior dev significantly longer than the 12 hours I can see how they may be reluctant to bring this to management if it would appear that they were "slower" than what's the norm for their level. – seventyeightist Sep 26 at 19:18
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    As a fellow italian, all I can say is: no, you shouldn't get paid for your overtime for the simple reason that you should not do overtime. What will happen is that they will expect you to work overtime for free, and to save management's ass when they promise unrealistic deadlines without consulting anyone. Just do like me and find another country, because that is just the norm in Italy – ChatterOne Sep 27 at 12:18
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I'm an italian developer too, and have been in your situation before (and it's more than likely that I'll be there again in the future). The short answer is yes, you should be paid for overtime. The sad truth is that it's not going to happen.

I don't know what's your CCNL (for non-Italians: CCNLs are standard contracts, set up and periodically updated by the government, along with major trade unions and company associations - you can deviate from them, but most companies just copy and paste their industry's, changing maybe the paycheck), but basically all the CCNLs have similar rules for overtime: it should be approved by the line manager prior of the overtime. While there is a clear rationale for this rule in most traditional jobs (you have some warrantees, like you can refuse the overtime in certain situations and it should be equally distributed in a team), it also allows the most common dirty trick in our industry: you plan for the best and, if the employees cannot meet the deadline (which is the default, since your planning is overly optimistic), it's their choice doing unapproved overtime. In fact, if you do unapproved overtime, it is often stated in the contract that you are not entitled any compensation for it. Technically this could land you in troubles with HR, but obviously your company does not have any problem with you working for free.

In any other industry, I will suggest you to contact your trade union, but union coverage in this industry is very low (and, in fact, most major unions just don't have a section for IT). In this situation, the only thing I can suggest you is to move away from consulting companies to a company with an internal dev team (like your current customer), since they tend to treat their developers better.

  • I work for a consulting company that treats me well, and I have worked as internal dev at a company that didnt... So, look out for a company that treats you well. Some industries are more prone to bad treatment than others (consulting being a notorious offender). But in each each industry there are good and bad companies. – Benjamin Sep 27 at 8:21
  • @frollo: I have CCNL Metalmeccanico. And I confirm that the overtime has to be approved prior by my manager. But how can I ask him to approve it if it's a last-minute decision that I have to stay after 6pm? – kaidan094 Sep 27 at 8:45
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    @kaidan094 I think that's exactly the point. They cannot approve it on time, so that's really sad and you won't get the money. – frollo Sep 27 at 10:36
  • @frollo It doesn't neither help that all the colleagues of my team stay everyday after 6pm. And nobody force them to do so, it's their will. I don't know at what time they leave, but they certainly don't even ask to be paid for their overtime. I fear they may even look bad at me if I insist to be paid :/ – kaidan094 Sep 27 at 10:41
  • As a fellow italian consultant in the software field, I'm sad every time I hear about situations like these, and it happens a lot. If you don't feel like just leaving at the right time, speak about it to your manager, not necessarily to be paid but because it all might happen without him knowing. Your company, the one that pays you, is also losing money if you do unpaid overtime and they don't want that. Also,be flexible. Doing half-an-hour overtime a couple of times a week can be ok, being expected to do more than an hour everyday is definitely not ok. – bracco23 Sep 27 at 16:01
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Should I be payed for overtime?

Yes! You are working extra hours so you should be paid for this extra work that you are performing for your company. Not being paid for overtime means that you are working for free. If you have to stay extra hours then you should be compensated for it.

If you are having issues completing tasks on time then you need to determine the cause to prevent this in the future. Even if you are being paid for overtime, working extra hours is not healthy and may lead to burnout. You should focus on not working overtime but if you absolutely have to, make sure that you are paid or compensated in some other way ( e.g. time off ).

  • "If you are having issues completing tasks on time then you need to determine the cause to prevent this in the future." The first (and only once, for now) that I did overtime was because another team, who works here, was late with their work. They handed us a bunch of templates for a new feature that we had to implement (I'm a frontend developer), saying "it has to be done for tomorrow, because there is the release"... so it wasn't our fault, but we couldn't protest and say to postpone the release – kaidan094 Sep 27 at 7:26
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I would like to add to the already good answer. Say you get a task for 8 hours. It costs you 10 hours and you work the 2 extra for free. Then there is no record that the task took you longer then the given 8. So next time you will again get a task too large for 8 hours.

If you work overtime for free, atleast let them know so they can adjust their scedule and/or deadlines. If they can't they should hire someone extra or start paying you for extra time (but preferably the former especially for the long run).

Otherwise you will end up working longer hours for free structurally and that is not something you want. It leads to stress, less personal time, a possible burnout and no extra dime to show for it.

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With software development, occasional overtime is sometimes happens to hit a deadline. In these cases as an employee, I wouldn't normally expect to be paid overtime.

If this ceases to be occasional, and becomes expected, routine, part of the job then I would either expect to be paid overtime explicitly or have a salary rate significantly (20%) above market rates.

Without either of these, find a better employer and leave. Don't hang around to gain poor quality experience. You can gain better experience elsewhere.

This is what I am seeing here:

Your employer is selling the time of yourself and other junior developers to a company, and at that company there is continual pressure for unpaid overtime.

  1. If, its because you are all junior developer and are being given "stretch tasks" that are triggering additional learning to complete, that more experienced developers would not need, then an experienced team lead would both factor that into the schedule, and also organise for some support and guidance to assist in the delivery. This should not lead to you needing to work overtime - and if this seems like the closest match, talk to your manager for guidance on how to manage this customer.

  2. It's possible that the customer is trying to "extract maximum value" simply pushing the schedule hard and seeing what happens. They are probably paying a fixed daily rate, and want to get as much as they can done for their money. If this is the case, your manager may put a stop to it, but if your manager is happy with this - look for a different job. Working in IT body shops is the worst place to be a software developer.

  3. It's quite possible that the customer has bitten off a bigger chunk of work that they can do, hence why you have been added to the project. If this looks like it is a case of poor project management, flag this up to your manager, he may be able to sell project management services to this customer as well.

  • "They are probably paying a fixed daily rate, and want to get as much as they can done for their money" You got the whole situation then :) that's exactly how it is. But the manager won't stop it for sure, also because he doesn't take this kind of decision. There is another boss above him. Anyway I was already planning to leave next year, I'm here just for some experience, since I'm just a new junior developer. I just hope that I won't be exploited without the chance to get paid for my overtime – kaidan094 Sep 27 at 7:17
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    Yeah, thats classic IT body shop behaviour. Avoid these kinds of consultancy jobs unless the alternative is starving / homelessness. Much better to work for companies that are developing their own software and are investing for the long term. Even better if they are a startup that are growing rapidly (but startups tend to look for 2-3 years experience as a minimum) – Michael Shaw Sep 27 at 7:25
  • Sadly, where I live I would say that almost all companies offer consultancy jobs, since here there are a lot of banks and insurance companies who need IT developers. And without work experience I couldn't be so picky, since others request some years of experience. But I will start to look for companies that have their own software while I keep to work here. – kaidan094 Sep 27 at 7:34
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Your contract has one of these 2 things:

  • Defined working time
  • Defined pay per hour

So either you work the time defined by your contract, or you do overtime and get paid for it. Any other combination is probably illegal. Since you have defined working time, I would speak to your manager to either:

  • stop doing overtime
  • start getting paid for overtime hours / increase overall pay

If you have any concerns or problems with speaking to your manager about this:

  • you stop complaining and continue doing the overtime
  • you start looking for another job

But in general, welcome to the industry!

  • Can the downvoters please explain wheres the problem? What part of my answer is wrong, misleading or something else? This question has been asked many times in other forms and my answer sums up most of the answers there. – Chapz Sep 27 at 19:47

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