I've recently worked on a task that took several weeks to complete. It was a very intensive work, and on several nights and mornings I had to do over time.

When I started working here, such thing happened before and I was paid for the over time. However, at some point they said there is no need for me to do over time because the project's structure stabilized, I should be able to finish within the normal hours and there is no budget to pay the extra hours.

Some time has passed and I was able to finish everything in normal working hours, but lately I had the above task for which I did a lot of over time. Because the work was so intensive and at that time I wasn't sure how much the situation was going to continue, I didn't take note of the overtime hours spent. Also, in the last few days they said the task took too much to finish, but there were several technical difficulties which were not foreseen in the initial estimation.

During this task I took a week of vacation(for which I'm not paid) and now I need to give the timesheet for the month. I don't know what would be best to do because I don't know if or how much time should I ask as overtime.

  • 5
    What does your contract say about overtime? What does it say about normal working hours? What kind of contract is it - for a project or ongoing?
    – Oded
    Nov 9, 2012 at 12:16
  • 1
    it's a project based contract, and it doesn't state anything about overtime. Thanks for asking!
    – user590
    Nov 9, 2012 at 13:57
  • I think this answer applies: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/6090/…
    – MrFox
    Nov 9, 2012 at 14:11
  • 1
    Maybe you can't clock it as over-time, but you may be within the budget because of the week off, so put them down as normal hours.
    – user8365
    Nov 9, 2012 at 18:25
  • 6
    This is actually a red flag on your communication skills. The fact that you had to work extra time should have been telegraphed ahead of time to the company. They should be in the loop about what hours you are working on before you work them. I normally like to side with the little guy, but i feel in this instance (and who knows what the outcome was) you are in the "wrong". It is unfair to do more work than budgeted for, and then demand money for that work. If you were, say, a plumber, I would be most upset by the increased bill.
    – bharal
    Dec 6, 2014 at 4:25

2 Answers 2


In general, you should follow what it says in the contract you have signed with the client.

If it doesn't mention overtime, you should have had it amended to include an overtime clause that suits yourself and the client.

Not having any mention of overtime in the contract puts you at a disadvantage, legally speaking. Unless you can prove overtime (invoice sent, timesheets approved detailing the overtime), the client is under no obligation to compensate you for the extra time you had decided to take onto yourself.

Your best way forward is to discuss this issue with your client - with the person that oversees your work and signs your timesheets. You may be able to reach an agreement where you charge your overtime as some of the vacation time you have taken.


First you did not track your time spent. If you are going to say that you worked x number of hours over you need to be able to show some proof of that. Since you did not track the time you actually spent you can not show proof that you spent X hours over. You should never bill a client for hours you can not show proof that your worked. That is unprofessional and could cause you legal problems. I have worked with another contractor that was sued for falsifying the time sheet not because they did not work the hours but because he did not keep track properly. (Though I still have my suspicions)

Your client instructed you to only work on it during normal work hours. Unless at some point there was another discussion in which overtime was authorized, that work was not approved by the client. If you attempt to bill the client for those hours it will not only look bad for you, but you could be in breach of the contract. Your contract may not say anything about over time but your contracting companies contract probably states that any hours beyond the normal time must be authorized ahead of time. This is pretty standard in most hourly contract agreements.

  • 5
    Agreed - if the client said "there is no need for [you] to do over time" and then you did it anyway without authorization or even keeping the client updated as you went, it's going to be pretty difficult for you to demand they pay you for it. Nov 12, 2012 at 1:10

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