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Friday, May 09, 2008

Legal Limits on Overtime Work

There ought to be a law that imposes a legal limit to overtime work.

In the Philippines, there seems to be nothing of this sort. The law is clear about how much a company must pay employees for extra hours of work, but there is nothing that says how far legally a company can go in requiring employees to extend work hours. Article 87 of the labor code is clear on how to pay employees for working beyond the prescribed period. The following articles define how to treat various overtime work situation and issues but there is nothing that says an employer can only require an employee to work a certain amount of time each day. I believe as many others do that there ought to be a law that defines this because employees need to be protected from employers whom in their pursuit of profitability put their employees lives and health in jeopardy.

Sometimes in our desperate move to please customers, hit targets, exceed quota and trounce competitors we hurt our most vital resources, our people. We escape guilt by paying them extra. To a certain extent employees appreciate the extra money that come their way because the minuscule regular compensation hardly gets them by. They endure the torturous 16-hour, for some even more hours of work everyday to the detriment of their physical and mental wellbeing, not to mention their family and social lives.

Many companies also close their eyes to the fact that fatigue, sleep deprivation, circadian factors and other factors that are caused by excessive work hours can cause workplace accidents, serious and expensive errors. They just cross their fingers everytime because they seem to find no other remedy to it. While it is true that there is often no easy alternative to excessive overtime work, companies and the government should not stop in figuring out a way to remedy the situation. In other countries, this issue has been identified by many countries and have set or are studying how to set limits on overtime work, we should do the same. I've been trying to find legislative documents towards this end but couldn't find any. If you know something, please share.

Law or no law, we as managers and employers should draw the line between normal overtime hours and abusive ones. HR should monitor the company's overtime work performance and address the issue if we see that we are going beyond healthy. It is our responsibility to our employees.

We must all achieve work-life balance. Let us remember, we work to live, we do not live to work.


  1. i agree. a law regarding overtime work to define just how much is too much is needed.

  2. There are some companies which doesn't have any payroll system. The worst case is when employees aren't told that since when to when their probation period is running. Transparency isn't there in such companies. Sigh!

  3. Anonymous5:42 PM

    correct...sadly no politician will delve into this issue. no money no lobby. this is the responsibility of the politicians of parties who are supposed to push for these issues. generic politicians will never ever think of this. labor groups are also puppet of these corporations. hence, this amount to slavery. sic.

  4. This is why the company where I am working is forcing us to work overtime. :(

  5. This is why the company where I am working is forcing us to work overtime. :(


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