Career & Education

When do I qualify for overtime pay?

Career Advisor

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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Dear Career Advisor,

I have a question. What is the stipulated number of hours that an employer can legally require an employee to work before they are entitled to overtime?

Kind regards,


Dear Sasha:

Thank you for your question.

Let us first establish the definition of “overtime work”. It means work done:

1. during any period of a rest day;

2. during any period on any Sunday, public general holiday, Good Friday or Christmas Day; or

3. during any period in excess of 40 hours in any week exclusive of the days outlined in numbers 1 and 2.

Traditionally, we would have advised that overtime pay accrue after eight hours per day. However, with the advent of flexi-week work arrangements, there has been an amendment to the definition of overtime work. It is no longer calculated daily after eight hours of work, but weekly, after 40 hours of work done. In some industries, it would exclude work done on a Sunday.

Under the provisions of the flexi-work bill and based on the agreements between the parties, workers can do shifts of greater than eight hours but not in excess of 12 hours in any one workday.

We trust this response is adequate for your needs.

All the best.


Career Advisor

Carolyn Marie Smith is associate vice-president of student services at Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville, Manchester. Submit your questions to her at




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