I am a professional employee here on island for a large multinational company. Our employer regularly makes us work 10-12 hours per day, five days a week (50-60 hours per week). Section 24 of the Labour Law stipulates that the standard work week is maximum nine hours per day/45 hours per week. I have agreed in my contract of employment to waive overtime pay (as allowed for by Section 25(3)). With regards to this, however, does Section 24 still apply, and, therefore, is my employer breaking the law? Can they legally force me to work more than 45 hours per week without consequence? Am I entitled to leave after nine hours per day without consequence?
Auntie’s answer: As with most labour questions, I consulted with an official at the Department of Labour and Pensions (DLP), who first pointed out that you referenced the appropriate sections of the Labour Law (2011 Revision) concerning your situation, as an employee working in a professional capacity. Unfortunately, however, that is the end of the good news.
Based on your description of the situation, this is what the DLP official said, “It would appear from the facts provided that the employee agreed to waive overtime as per section 25(3), by signing the contract of employment provided by their employer. As such, the obligation to pay overtime to that employee in accordance with subsection (1) shall not apply.”
The only other option is if you want to try to change the terms of your contract, at which point it is recommended you seek legal counsel.
The law mentioned in this column can be found on the CNS Library