Background: I am currently working on a long-term project. This project has taken many people away from their current full-time roles and there is some traveling involved. Each of us signed a letter that promises a project bonus within a range depending on how the project ends (ie on time, on budget, quality, etc). The maximum bonus is equal to a large portion of a year's salary, and we are hopeful to get it. The minimum bonus is a small fraction of a year's salary. The work week was outlined for those who would be traveling, giving monday morning and thursday evening as travel time. But no other outlines for the working day/week were communicated, no details on hours or Overtime pay. At times on the project, the workload has been immensely larger than our previous roles. Often people have had to work 18 hour days, weekends, and through their lunches.
Here in Ontario (as with my previous role) employers are legally required to pay the standard pay-rate up to 44 hours (per working week). When hours exceed 44, Overtime is to be provided at 1.5 times the standard pay-rate. Given the nature of my role on project, there is nothing that negates my right to overtime pay. Unfortunately, there are people who I am working alongside that do not fall under the ontario OT guidelines and will not be eligible to receive it.
Initially we had some days where I could leave early, so when I first started to work longer hours was writing it off as give-and-take. However things rev'd up more than I was expecting; take-and-take.
I've talked to many coworkers/managers about compensation for overtime hours, and the resounding answer is "project bonus". This seems to be how everyone has been validating the extra work. The project cultural belief is if we work extra hours that we are more likely to get the Maximum bonus, and the maximum bonus would be more than the OT pay we could earn, ergo the bonus is the compensation. I was doing some math and if I had been paid overtime hours I would have earned enough to put me in the middle of the bonus range, and would already have been paid.
I want to be compensated for my time, and I want to get the bonus for when the project is complete. I have wanted to talk with my project manager on this, but every scenario I imagine casts me in bad light.
Questions: Is a 'project bonus' reasonable compensation for Overtime? Do I have a right to ask for overtime pay without it affecting my bonus after the project is done? Assuming that no one is currently getting overtime pay, what strategies can I use to broach this topic with my project lead?
Concerns: I don't want to come across a greedy, expressing my rights when people I'm working alongside don't have those same rights. If I do get compensated for overtime hours, that pay will be coming out of the project budget and may affect how large the final bonus is for the whole team. If word gets out to everyone who is entitled to Overtime, those who are not entitled to overtime pay may be left with only the minimum bonus.