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Is the Extra Cash From Overtime Worth Your Time?

Overtime Worth Your Time

When I used to work at an hourly rate, I often took advantage of overtime opportunities. You can earn a lot more money than your regular paycheck when you work overtime. Sometimes I really needed the money. Other times, I just liked the chance to save up. At the time, it always seemed worth it. However, it’s been many years since I worked an hourly pay job. And now I have to wonder is overtime worth your time?

How Does Overtime Pay Work?

It’s been awhile since I had the opportunity to get paid overtime. Therefore, I decided to look up the laws to make sure that I understand how it all works. Basically, overtime guarantees that you get extra money per hour if you work more than full-time.

Overtime Is For Hourly Paid Jobs

Overtime pay is for people who get paid hourly. While there are occasional exceptions for people in salaried positions, this is primarily a protection for people who work hourly. The point of overtime pay is to make sure that people are properly compensated for working long hours.

Overtime Pay Per Week

Generally speaking, you receive overtime pay if you work more than forty hours in one week. A week might not be a calendar week but rather a series of 7 consecutive days. In other words, your work week might run Friday-Thursday, for example. If you work more than forty hours per week in that seven day period, then you’re entitled to overtime pay. Per federal law, this means you get 1.5x your regular pay (or higher) for hours exceeding 4o in one week.

Overtime Pay Per Day

Every state has their own rules about overtime pay, in addition to the federal guidelines. Furthermore, some employers offer better overtime pay than others, although of course none can offer LESS than the federal requirements.

In California, for example, you get overtime pay for any hours worked beyond eight hours in a single day (whether or not you work more than 4o in a week.) You get 1.5x regular pay for 8-12 hours. You get 2x pay for more than 12 hours. Therefore, if you worked a double shift, and your shift is normally 8 hours, then you would get 1x pay for the first eight hours, 1.5x pay for the next four hours, and 2x pay for the final four hours.

Holiday Overtime Pay

Some employers offer overtime pay for working weekends, nights, and holidays. This varies by job and by state. This is not a federal requirement.

Is the Extra Cash From Overtime Worth Your Time?

As you can see, you can easily earn a lot of extra money from working overtime. But is overtime worth your time? It really depends on your job, your financial situation, and your work-life balance priorities. In other words, overtime might be worth your time or it might not. Here are some questions to ask yourself to determine is overtime worth your time:

Do You Need The Money?

First of all, do you need the money? Are you able to make all of your necessary monthly payments without overtime pay? If you’re struggling to make ends meet then you might actually need overtime pay.

Since overtime pay is primarily for people who work hourly jobs, it’s often for people who make lower income. (That’s not always the case; I know some people in the medical profession and government jobs who earn a good living and also make a lot extra with overtime pay.) 

So, maybe you need the money.

Could You Earn the Money Another Way?

Do you love your job? If so, then working overtime might not be a big deal. However, if working those extra hours is stressful, draining, and upsetting, then you might find that it’s not worth it to work overtime there. If you need the money, could you earn it in another way? Are there passive income opportunities, a second job, or other options for earning the higher income that you need?

How Quickly Do You Need The Money?

If you need to make a big payment quickly, then you might want to use overtime to get that extra money. However, if you just know that you need to earn more over time, then overtime might not be the solution. It might be worth your time to go back to school or get advanced training so that you can earn a higher base pay in the future, rather than working yourself to the bone with overtime now.

How Does Overtime Impact Your Health?

This is one of the most important questions to ask yourself. When we work too much and don’t have work-life balance, it can affect all areas of our lives. In particular, it can negatively impact both physical and mental health. Overwork can lead to sleep problems, mood changes, poor eating habits, headaches, stress-related illness, and more. This takes a toll on your body and your brain. Moreover, it might mean added medical costs. If overtime is negatively impacting your overall health then it may not be worth your time.

How Does Overtime Impact Your Relationships?

Likewise, working too much can negatively impact your relationships. Do you have time to spend with the friends and family that you love? Do you get to do things that you enjoy with them? Or are you always thinking about getting things done because you’re about to head back to work? If your relationships are suffering from overwork, then you might need to find a financial solution other than overtime.

How Old Are You?

This is less about your specific age and more about your life stage. For example, I didn’t mind working overtime at all when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I had a lot of energy. I didn’t have other commitments. Moreover, I liked working because it was new. 

Similarly, sometimes when people’s children grow up, they have more interest in working long hours again. It’s important to weigh the values of your life stage against the importance of earning that extra money.

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