I can finish a project in 10 days and I have given an appropriate deadline.

I started the project and on the 4th day my boss tells me forcefully to work on the weekend to finish the project early. We are already working 45 hrs/week and this has added stress. I think working on weekends also degrades my performance.

I am salaried, and they are paying me for overtime. But I don't need overtime pay. I am happy with my salary. I have my own plan for my family on weekends as I can't spend time in weekdays

What I should do? How do I handle the situation?

Also, I work in India.

closed as off-topic by Telastyn, gnat, Chris E, IDrinkandIKnowThings, Jim G. Apr 17 '15 at 11:32

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  • Do you have the opportunity to write those days as worked days, so you can take 2 days off the next week? – Edwin Lambregts Apr 16 '15 at 12:56
  • They are not allowing me to take off on next week. week work is compulsory. If I need leave on weekdays they start bargaining for giving leaves. – OpenCurious Apr 16 '15 at 13:07
  • 3
    You should specify what country you're working in. – PointlessSpike Apr 16 '15 at 13:26
  • Are you salaried or paid hourly? Has your boss offered to pay for your overtime? – David K Apr 16 '15 at 13:35
  • Ask your boss whether he is there on the weekend. All weekend. If there is no need for him to be present then there is no need for you to be present. This doesn't help you in any legal way, but could help in a moral way. You are working 45hrs/week. You are paid most likely for 40. The very least you can do is make your boss admit that the only reason you should be working is because he has the power, and you don't. If you get there, you might convince him to actually pay out. If this doesn't end in a satisfactory way, look for a job elsewhere (but don't tell anyone). – gnasher729 Apr 16 '15 at 14:17

Historically two things can go wrong if your boss asks you to work on weekends:

The first case that things can go wrong is by you saying "yes". In that case it can be solidified (@OpenCurious works on weekends) so later on they can ask you to do it again. It is also a good excuse for poor management and planning. Since the workweek can be more elastic, so can the deadlines, the estimates and many other things.

The second case is if you say "no". Now you are not a team player, it will get back to you on your performance review. Even if it's not "allowed", it will get back somehow.

I'd say it's a lose-lose game and you need to pick where you and your company lose less. Is there compensation? Is it big enough so that management will be discouraged from calling you every weekend? Is it a one-off? Is it really necessary?

The comment "Do you have the opportunity to write those days as worked days, so you can take 2 days off the next week?" from @Edwin Lambregts offers a compelling alternative: What can you do to negate that action? In theory by getting those two days off during next week, you are helping the situation by being there on a weekend, while you remove from your management the capability to "mismanage" on your expense. On the other hand if this is the case, you wouldn't have been asked to do work those days in the first place.


If you're employed in the United States and are salary, you are most likely at-will employment. Meaning that an employer can terminate the employment for almost any reason.

While no one is holding a gun to your head and making you drive into the office on the weekend, be prepared for fallout if you do not.

  • 2
    The OP is in India which makes the situation much worse on the employee. The OP could potentially have to pay some pretty hefty penalties for failure to comply. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Apr 17 '15 at 3:37

Given that they won't give you an extra couple of workdays off as compensation I would probably say "I'd like to be flexible and help you meet this goal but my work/life balance and the quality of my work would suffer for working 12 days straight. I hope you understand where I'm coming from."

As the other answers state if you are in the US this is a potentially risky move. In most of the rest of the developed world you aren't risking your employment asserting your rights but you are risking your image. Adding the invitation for empathy at the end of the statement helps mitigate the risk to your image.


This is a tough situation. Ideally, (good) management would engage a quality approach in analysis, project management, and general policy so that such demands aren't necessary.

That said, it is not uncommon (at least in the US in my experience) for some shops to demand overtime. In the competitive market for retail software, "time to market" does carry value though it can come at a cost to quality and certainly quality of life.

But there is much we still don't know about this situation. Thinking about some of these points will help you:

  • It also sounds like your manager is being a jerk about it. Is that so, or was the manager reasonable (see more below)?
  • Is the manager demanding overtime the same one that set the original deadline? If so, why is the overtime requested? Is there a defined benefit for finishing early? Is that benefit for the company as a whole, the team, or just for the manager? If this is the manager's personal agenda, you could go over his head and talk to the manager's manager but this can be dangerous political ground.
  • What are the terms of the overtime? Was it, "You're working this weekend or else you're fired" or "We could really gain confidence with stakeholders if we finish early, and I will give you comp time in exchange for your sacrifice"?
  • Are you paid hourly or are you salaried with exempt status? That makes a difference. As a contractor, I am paid hourly and while I don't like working overtime, at least I receive some compensation for it.
  • Is this a new company trying to gain traction in its field? How critical is the timing of the project? How critical is the quality of the product? If you feel quality will suffer enough, you might want to explain that to your manager, but sadly most software managers put quality beneath budget and deadline on their priority list.

Overtime work, especially without pay, is definitely a sacrifice by the employee. That doesn't mean overtime is always a bad thing; it depends on many circumstances.

If you do a search for "EA spouse" you'll find the story of a game software employee that endured intense overtime schedules and the resulting controversy when the employee's spouse went public with it. However, Warren Spector, a game software designer once commented on this in a lecture, saying that if not for the comparable sacrifices of many early gaming developers, there might not be a games industry at all.

If the job is critical for you, you might have to accept it for now and consider different employment in the future, but if you're otherwise happy with the job, know that things might be similar or worse elsewhere.

Ultimately, there isn't a right or wrong answer; you have to evaluate if the cost is worth it to you and decide what you're going to do. You are the best person to make that decision.

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