I'm a new hire (4 months ago) at a company, working as a developer. I am hired as an hourly worker, and my contract states that I am eligible for overtime if I work more than 40 hours/week.

The issue is that all of my coworkers are salaried, and there is a culture of "work the job, not the hours." This sometimes means working a few more than 40 hours per week, and no one ever asks to be compensated for their overtime. Although I don't have concrete evidence, I believe that on the average week, my coworkers work less than 40 hours.

I'm struggling to fit in between the culture and my contract. I almost never work less than my 40 hours, and often end up working a few hours extra. I would like to either not have to work overtime without fear of appearing lazy, or to be compensated for my overtime. I brought the subject of overtime up with my manager once before, and the answer was pretty much "yes, you'll work more than 40 hours most weeks, but that's what is required from the job." There is also an overarching view from management that if the developers can't handle their responsibilities, they need to find a different job.

I am planning to approach my manager again, but am unsure of how to present my side effectively while not looking like a bad employee. I feel like I am asking to be a special snowflake and be treated different from my teammates, but I don't think the current situation is legal. I also don't want to make enemies of my managers by proposing "either I work less or get paid overtime," because I think that makes me an easy target for someone who needs to find a new job.

How can I manage my current situation? How can I approach these topics in conversation without potentially putting my employment in danger?


I met with my manager today to discuss the above (minus others working < 40 hours). She was very understanding, and noted that she initially had some difficulty with the hours issue due to me being her first hourly worker. She asked what was creating the extra work for me, and gave me the advice to be careful about burning out. She also wholeheartedly agreed that I should bill the time I was owed, and said she'd cover for me if she got any push-back from payroll. All-in-all, the meeting took 10 minutes and went incredibly well. Thanks to all of you for the advice and confidence! I highly recommend this approach to anyone else in a similar situation.

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    Do not work uncompensated overtime, period. If you're paid hourly and work uncompensated OT, you're cutting your wages and potentially putting the company in a bad spot because your reported hours are not accurate/truthful when checked against actual hours worked.
    – alroc
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 4:20
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    If your manager expects that you'll work more than 40 hours a week, your contract says that you'll be paid overtime for working more than 40 hours a week, and you're actually working more than 40 hours a week, why does't your timesheet show more than 40 hours a week? Has someone done something to lead you to believe that you shouldn't be billing more than 40 hours a week? Your description of your discussion with your manager certainly doesn't convey that impression. Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 6:22
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    If you're in the US, if you're not salaried you have to be paid for all hours worked, period. Not being paid for the hours you work is simply illegal and you can demand backpay years down the line if you can prove your overtime (using timesheets). This is a huge legal concern and you should bring it up with HR asap. The same is probably true for most other countries, but please confirm your country (and I can expand this into an answer).
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 9:41
  • Alright, looks like I'll approach my manager on Tuesday when I get back to work. Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 10:18
  • You are hourly, and a developer, are you working hourly directly for the company or are you an independent contractor working a 1099 contract? What other differences are there between you and your salaried co-workers in terms of benefits like time off, 401k, etc. Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 17:57

4 Answers 4


You already approached the manager about the overtime and your contract is structured that way. I have had jobs like this and never thought twice about it.

Work your hours, report them, get paid. You are not salaried. You won't get any bonuses that the salaried folks might get, you also don't get paid vacation, health insurance benefits, 401k match or a host of other benefits afforded the salaried.

If someone complains, it is their problem. As long as reporting overtime is allowed, accurate, and you are getting paid, bank it. When the holidays come and everyone goes home at noon, you won't get paid and will need the extra banked money.

  • @JoeStrazzere sorry, was thinking contract, so in this case that may not be as true. However, it is generally true that hourly positions pay less than equivalent salaried ones, however, the OP didn't indicate if that was true and he may not know. My experience in IT at least is that the hourly positions paid less than salaried positions assuming 40 hours. So if Bob makes the equivalent of $20/hr salaried but generally works 45 hours per week and Joe get $15/hr and works the same 45 hours per week then they are on par (didn't check math, but you get the point) Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 17:09

Charge for every hour you work. This is a basic principle. Work to the job, not the hours is fine if you're on salary (it's not company culture, it's just what salary is all about). But not on wages.

There are legal implications with not reporting all your hours as well. There is nothing exotic about being on wages, your management already know what is required in terms of payment and there should be no problems claiming the hours.


Caring for the company culture is good, but here, you are losing out on hard-earned money.

So, you should and need to talk to your manager about that. And as you are the one at loss here, you need to make sure that the management understands your problem.

The case of salaried workers is different from yours, and your employer needs to understand that clearly.

So, don't sound harsh or very demanding. Just keep a pleasant sounding request.

Explain to them that you are open to putting in the extra efforts and also respect the company culture, but according to the contract you are entitled for overtime.

And before you make the request, make sure that the 40 hrs of work you are doing is productive, so that you don't want yourself to be on the defending side.

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    If you feel like it, offer to switch to salaried. Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 4:44
  • Is switching to salaried a big request for someone so new to a company? Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 5:56
  • @PunDefeated Yes, it is. But, you need to provide enough points which would work for you and the company, if you want to make that request.
    – Dawny33
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 7:39

I also don't want to make enemies of my managers by proposing "either I work less or get paid overtime," because I think that makes me an easy target for someone who needs to find a new job.

You should work and get paid according to your contract. Your contract says that you are paid by the hour. The payment is really none of the business of your manager, you just go to whoever is responsible for the payroll and tell them how much you are working. When you do that there are several possibilities:

One: They just pay.

Two: They just pay, but tell your manager's manager that you are working overtime which they didn't expect, who will then ask your manager why you as an hourly employee do expensive overtime; your manager will then either justify his decision to make you work overtime, or stop it.

Three: They tell you that you need something signed by your manager that he allowed you to do the overtime, and he signs that paper, and you get paid. (Same followup as (two)).

Four: Between payroll and your manager they refuse to pay. And THAT would be absolutely illegal. If you are an hourly worker, and you work, they MUST pay you for every hour you work.

"Either I work less or get paid overtime" is not a proposal that you should make. You should go to payroll, and if necessary you'll walk to your manager and ask him to sign that you worked the hours that you worked. If you refuses, he is in breach of the law.

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