Can An Employer Make You Stay After Your Scheduled Shift?

Written By Aleena

Can an employer make you stay after your scheduled shift? To start, let’s look at what your contract says.

Second, let’s look at what the law says. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has set a federal minimum wage since 1938.

Can An Employer Make You Stay After Your Scheduled Shift? 5 Possible Situations

Your answer depends on a lot of things. Shifts that go over 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week are overtime. Let’s discuss both matters one by one:

Here are all the possibilities an employer can make you work after your scheduled shift:

1. You Are A Salaried Employee:

If you are a salaried employee, your contract might say that you may need to work a certain number of hours.

In this case, your employer can ask you to stay until the job is all done. Even if it means working overtime.

Salaried employees are often exempt from the rules about overtime pay, although it’s wrong.

Overtime pay - can an employer make you stay after your scheduled shift

This means your employer does not have to pay you time and a half for working more than 40 hours a week.

But some employers might have to give their salaried employees extra compensation for working long hours anyway.

For instance, if you work 50 or 60 hours a week. But only get paid 40, which could be considered wage theft.

2. If You Are An Hourly Employee:

Hourly wages do not fluctuate based on how much work you get done. This is because you are only paid for the time you spend working.

So, if you are scheduled to work 8 hours but only work for 6, you should only be paid for 6 hours.

If your employer asks you to stay longer than your scheduled shift, they may have to pay you overtime.

Overtime is usually time and a half. So if you make $10 an hour, you would make $15 an hour for overtime.

However, in the case of hourly wages, you get what you work for. So if your employer asks you to stay late and agrees, they don’t have to pay you overtime.

You can also refuse to stay late if you don’t want to.

3. If Your Schedule Changes Last Minute:

Schedule changes can be frustrating, especially when they’re last minute.

Your employer may change your schedule with less than 24 hours’ notice. They may have to pay you for the inconvenience.

Although, it depends on your contract and the laws in your state.

However, if you’re an hourly employee, your employer must notify you of any schedule changes.

Your schedule change may entitle you to premium pay, like overtime or double time.

Here are some possibilities when an employer can not make you stay late:

4. You Refuse To Stay After Your Shift:

If your employer asks you to stay after your scheduled shift, you have the right to say no.

You may have to clock out and leave if you don’t want to stay. When this happens, your employer may have to pay you for the time you worked.

But, if you stay, you may get overtime pay. However, your refusal to stay may result in consequences, like getting fired. Or they may give you a warning.

5. Breach Of Contract:

Does your contract say you will work certain hours? If yes, your employer can’t make you work more than stated in the contract.

If they do, they are breaching the contract. This could entitle you to damages.

Their actions might also count as constructive dismissal. This is when an employer changes the terms of your contract so much that it amounts to firing you.

You can then sue for wrongful dismissal. And when you win, you could get your job back or compensation.

How To Change Shifts If You Can’t Do Them?

If you have a good reason for not being able to do a shift, there are ways to change it.

You could:

1. Negotiate With Employer To Swap Shifts:

While it may not always be possible, the first step should be to try and negotiate a shift swap with your employer.

Shift swap - can an employer make you stay after your scheduled shift

This is where you agree to work someone else’s shift in exchange for them working yours.

Before doing this, check your contract. It may state that you can only swap shifts with someone of the same grade.

For instance, you may be unable to swap a night shift with a day shift.

2. Take Annual Leave:

If you have annual leave saved up, you could use this to get out of a shift.

Again, check your contract to see how much notice you need to give. It’s usually for at least two weeks.

While this option may not be ideal, it’s better than having to do a shift you don’t want to do.

Also, you may be able to take the day off as unpaid leave.

3. Ask To Work From Home:

If the shift you’re supposed to do can be from home, ask your employer if this is an option.

Working from home can be a great way to avoid a shift you don’t want to do.

And it’s usually a lot more relaxed than working in an office. You get to make your hours

and work even in your pajamas if you want to.

4. Agree on To Do Overtime At Another Time:

You can try negotiating with your employer to do the overtime at another time.

This can be a good option if you need the money but can’t do the shift.

Your boss may be more likely to agree if you’re willing to do the overtime at a more convenient time.

5. Talk To HR About The Problem:

If you’re struggling with your work schedule, it’s a good idea to talk to HR.

They may be able to help you find a solution. It may work better for both you and your employer.

They may also be able to give you some advice on how to deal with the situation.

6. Resign And Get A New Job:

If you can’t stand your job, it may be time to resign and get a new one.

This is the last resort. But it may be the best option if you’re truly unhappy with your current situation.

And remember, you always have the option to speak to your boss about scheduling

conflicts. They may be more understanding than you think.

Working In Shifts Can Be Tough, But There Are Ways To Deal With It:

If you’re stuck working shifts, there are ways to make the best of it.

1. Build Rapport:

First, try to build rapport with your co-workers. Your shifts will go much smoother if you get along with the people you work with.

Build rapport

Some things you can do to build rapport include:

Complimenting them on a job well done

– Buying them coffee or lunch

– Asking about their day

2. Get Enough Sleep:

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to get enough sleep when you work in


If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll be more likely to make mistakes and have a harder time


To get enough sleep, you should:

– Go to bed at the same time every night

– Turn off electronics an hour before bedtime

– Get 7-8 hours of sleep per night

3. Eat Healthy:

Eating healthy is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for shift workers.

Your body’s natural clock (circadian rhythm) gets thrown off when you work in shifts. It

can lead to indigestion and other digestive problems.

To eat healthily, you should:

– Eat small, frequent meals

– Avoid greasy and fatty foods

– Drink plenty of water

4. Find A Good Work Environment:

You constantly expose yourself to different environments when you work in shifts.

This can be hard on your body and your mind. To make the transition easier, you should:

– Find a good environment to work in

– Make sure the environment is comfortable

– Avoid loud noise and bright lights

And finally,

5. Find A Good Company:

Working in shifts can be tough. But it’s a lot easier when you have good company to work for.

Look for a company that:

– Provides good benefits

– Has a friendly environment

– Offers good pay and job security

You’ll be in good shape if you can find a company that meets all of these criteria.

6. Focus On Productivity:

There’s no use in working shifts if you’re not productive. So make sure that you:

– Stay focused on your work

– Don’t waste time

– Get the most out of your breaks

If you can do these things, you’ll be able to make the most of your shifts. And if you’re productive, your employer will be happy too.

Final Word:

So, can an employer make you stay after your scheduled shift? The answer is maybe.

It depends on the situation and how willing you are to work with your boss to find a solution.

If you’re not happy with the situation, talk to your boss.

See if there’s anything they can do about it. And if all else fails, you can always resign and find a new job.

Last Updated on 2 months by Shahzaib Arshad


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