Employees say employers break overtime rules: Global survey

Canadians least likely to be required to work overtime hours
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/29/2012

A majority of hourly workers around the world believe their employer has violated laws or rules governing overtime in their region, according to a recent survey.

The survey, which looked at hourly wage workers in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, India, Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States, found a majority in every region — except the U.S. (47 per cent) — believe their employers had at some point violated overtime rules. Workers in China were most likely (88 per cent) to believe their employers violated overtime rules.

"Our survey looked at employee perceptions,” said Joyce Maroney, director of the Workforce Institute, a think tank at Mississauga, Ont.-based Kronos, which commissioned the survey. “But regardless of the actual state of affairs, if employees perceive that their employer is out of compliance, that employer is at risk.”

The survey also looked at the frequency of overtime around the world and employee perceptions of how fairly their employers provide overtime.

In all regions surveyed — except France (39 per cent) — more than one-half of workers said their employer offered them the opportunity to work overtime hours (defined as more than their regularly scheduled work hours at either a higher rate of pay or in return for paid time off). The area with the greatest amount of overtime is India (82 per cent). In Canada, 52 per cent of hourly wage workers in Canada said they were offered the opportunity to work overtime.

The survey also found a high percentage of workers around the world are required by their employer to work overtime. The greatest percentage of workers required to work overtime was in India (68 per cent) and in China (67 per cent). Workers in Mexico (24 per cent) and Canada (20 per cent) were least likely to be required to work overtime.

The opportunity to work additional hours for a higher rate of pay or additional paid time off was very appealing to employees, the survey said. The majority of workers in every region surveyed said they were happy with the amount of overtime hours they worked or wished they could work more. Brazil, Canada, and the U.S had the greatest number of workers happy to work overtime (92 per cent), while workers in China were the least happy to work overtime (61 per cent).

The survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive from July 13-17, 2012, among 583 adults in the United States who are employed full- or part-time and paid an hourly wage aged 18 and older. From July 17-26, 2012, a total of 1,662 adults employed full- or part-time aged 16 to 64 were surveyed within Great Britain, France, Australia, China, Canada, Mexico, India and Brazil.

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