Overtime – bonus for the boss?

Overtime – bonus for the boss?

It is probably inevitable to deal with the name and with NATO during this period. But if we allow them to draw all our attention to these issues and deal with “high” politics as many times before we will forget about our own standard of living, and later we will wonder why we are sinking, why we are poor, why we lead a miserable life.

Before May 1, “Finance Think” published a fascinating data (which we have already forgotten), that one in four employees in the country is working overtime! This is the question that needs to be asked: where does this volume of overtime work come from? If this really was an economic necessity, it would indicate that our economy is in an unprecedented rise: there is production in large quantities, there is lack of workforce, so companies have to work overtime so so they can finish their daily tasks.

We all know it’s not so. Employees work overtime not because of lack of workers, but because the bosses are unsupervised by the authorities and because they can. They force their employees to work overtime, rarely paying them according to the law, and usually putting the money of their labor in their pocket. And that they are not working according to the law shows another important figure published by Finance Think: that average weekly overtime hours for those who have at least an hour of overtime work are 13 hours for men and 11 hours for women. If it is known that the permissible maximum for overtime is 8 hours per week, this data indicates that a significant proportion of the workers who work overtime violate the rights they have by law.

It is precisely during this period of the year that we need to remind you of overtime, because on June 17th, 24th week of the year has passed. It’s important to keep in mind, because, legally, it can not be run after 8 hours overtime more than 24 weeks a year. So if from New Year up to now you worked 48 hours a week, starting on June 17 the boss must not force you to work overtime by the end of the year. And not just that.  If you have already exceeded 150 hours of overtime or if you exceed this workload by the end of the year, despite the additional overtime payment, the boss should very likely pay you a bonus salary of 23-24 thousand denars, regardless of the salary you receive.

Although these are relatively old provisions in the law, still a large number of workers do not know that for over 150 hours of overtime annually they are supposed to receive a bonus salary, in the amount of the average salary in the country. I will emphasize, we are not talking about the obligation of the boss to pay you an overtime pay increase of 35 per cent every hour. In addition to this payment, if you have worked over 150 hours a year and if you have been absent from work for more than 21 days during the year (excluding the annual leave), you have the legal right to a bonus salary of 23-24 thousand denars.

Any avoidance of additional overtime payments and any non-payment of bonus pay for over 150 hours of overtime annually means unlawful enrichment of the boss and impoverishment of the employee. The worker additionally shortens the time he/she can spend with his family, rests, time to rest, to finish his/hers private obligations in order to provide the boss with higher profits, while the boss avoids his legal obligations, further enriching himself at the expense of the employee!

Those who defend the positions of the bosses may find these legal provisions too harsh. For a “bit” longer work, the boss should pay a bonus salary of 23-24 thousand denars to the employee who is paid a regular salary of 12 thousand denars. Besides that perhaps the boss respects his obligation to pay overtime by 35 percent. When this is claimed, you should bear in mind that overtime work is not meant to be a common practice. The law itself prescribes that overtime can not be applied for the free boss’s finding, but only in cases of extreme increase in the volume of work, if the continuation of the production process is necessary, in order to eliminate damage to the means of work and provide security of people, property and trade. Hence, overtime should be an exception rather than a rule. If on a regular basis it is necessary to carry out a larger workload, which can not be completed by the currently engaged workers during regular working hours, then the boss has to hire new workers, and not the existing workers to make them work overtime. And if he wants in this way to deal with a larger workload, then he should bear the financial repercussions for his own decision provided for in the law. But, no! The bosses in Macedonia want the workers to work overtime and not paying them! They are completely unsupervised, so they can!

Of course, if the bosses are allowed to act with impunity, they will do so. They will continue not to pay extra hours of overtime and will not pay bonus wages even if they are bound by law. And they will continue to make workers work longer than the legally allowed maximum of 8 hours per week and 190 hours a year. And they will continue to engage, contrary to the law, to persons who must not engage overtime (at least without their consent), such as: women during pregnancy, childbirth and children up to three years old, single parents with children up to six years old, and elderly workers, as well as workers who face health risks or have health problems.

Ask yourself, how long will you tolerate your boss taking the money that you have earned and belong to you? Because he doesn’t have money, and you do? Yes, it is difficult to have authentic union organization, but that does not mean that you must necessarily take this silently. At least report it to the Labor Inspectorate when the law for your rights is being violated. To avoid telling on your the boss, let the report be through an organization or through a friend or acquaintance who will not be easily linked to you. Not that every labor inspector deserves trust. But it is not true that all inspectors are corrupt. Push the boss. First determine whether your working time is recorded in accordance with the law. The boss must keep records of working hours, over 25 employees – electronically, and up to 25 employees – through a record sheet. If your boss does not do it, report it. The fine to pay according to the law is 3,000 euros. And if you observe the law in this section, then your overtime can be proven, so you can report if you work overtime longer than legally foreseen and / or if are not paid for your overtime work properly. First you need to know your rights. But that’s far from enough. You need to stand in their defense. If this is not done, as in the case of overtime, you will have the opportunity to continue to see how your boss, with money that legally belong to you, is living a luxurious life in his free time, while  your free time is shortened because he forced you to work longer than legally allowed.

Zdravko Saveski