Mandatory Overtime


Does anyone have ideas they can share that makes Mandatory Overtime easier to take?  We have increased areas of production from 8 hour shifts to 9 hour shifts and designated a few Saturdays to meet increased production.  Also, we need people here working so don't want to allow the use of sick or vacation time for a call in.  Instead we are thinking that since we have communicated it is "mandatory overtime", if someone calls in they would receive a point against their attendance record.

Any constructive comments would be welcome on what others have done.






  • 4 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • The first thing that comes to mind is this.  Before you go the route of saying "Mandatory Overtime", have you thought about asking people to sign up for overtime?  In this economy, where more and more companies are reducing hours and even employees, it is nice to hear about a company that has increased production and needs overtime.  I would hope that by setting the message as "We are very fortunate the our production has increased and therefore the need for some overtime.  Here are the hours for the overtime.  Please sign up if you are interested.", it is very likely that you will have many takers, as more and more people are living paycheck to paycheck and could use the extra money. 
  • Thanks IT HR.  Fortunately, we need all productions workers.  We are even hiring additional full-time people right now.  This is a nice problem to have.  We measure success, as many manufacturing companies do, on quality and on time delivery.  It's all hand on deck so to speak right now.

    I appreciate your feedback.

  • The nice thing about OT is that once you know you are stuck with it, it doesn't matter who is earning it, for a given wage rate.  It's all time and a half.

    To the extent possible, limited by fatigue/safety and fatigue/quality concerns, there's no reason to burden one person with OT they don't want and deny someone else OT that they wish they had.  "Mandatory" is usually an operational convenience that is completely divorced from thoughts about workforce management, turnover, etc.  Cross training coupled with job rotation generally makes for a more stable production line while also alleviating a lot of concerns about who is available to do whatever needs to be done.

    Forcefully changing schedules for a whole company can create a lot of bad feelings that can create a lot of expensive problems, like reduced efficiency, monkey wrenching, union organization drives, high rates of scrutiny from external agencies (invited by current and former employees) such as OSHA and EEOC, and turnover.  Your job is to reduce the ill will to reduce the undesired consequences of an unhappy workforce.  I recommend you start by reconsidering the ways in which it might be possible to look for volunteers and minimize the mandatory work assignments.

    Staffing up is a good route.  Staffing up with a lot of full timers is expensive if you offer benefits, but it may be worth it, especially if your business success looks long term.

    Money often helps.  As much as cash often appears down on the list of things desired in a mentally idealized job on an abstract questionnaire, experience demonstrates that it sure is a strong medicine for getting people to do what you need done.  You may think that time and a half is benefit enough, but unless you hired people with the expectation of overtime, many will see it as an intrusion on their private life that is not worth the money.  Often, the perception is that there's just enough OT to irritate and stress but not enough to be worth the cash or too much so that no amount of money would be worth it.  More money on top of time and a half sometimes helps.  Perhaps a bonus for x number of non-mandatory OT hours worked or a contest for who can work the most hours (as long as you can monitor performance).  Be creative.  "Mandatory" is a sledge hammer.

    Keep in mind that in some states, a significant change in schedule that interferes with necessaries like child care can result in successful UI claims.  If anybody in your production crew successfully quits and obtains UI benefits, your turnover will go as high as the dissatisfaction levels.

  • Thanks TX.  I agree with the sledgehammer comment.  As things go, our Production Manager imposed the mandatory requirement without consulting HR.  In an effort to support the needs of production and as you state so well, minimize bad feeling, avoid union organizing attempts, avoid turnover and so on and so on is why I posted this.  I like the bonus idea.  I'll pitch that.  We have always had voluntary ovetime in the past and have not had problems getting the people we need.  It isn't clear to me why this changed.  I'm still working on the thought process that was taking place when that decision was made and communicated.

    I do appreciate the feedback.  This helps a lot. 


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