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There is a peculiar format difficulty or glitch here.

The introduction seems weak. One normally characterises overtime as hours worked over the basic contracted number, and remunerated at time-and-a-half, for example. Working days not in the standard working week, also.

Charles Matthews 09:57, 9 Oct 2004 (UTC)

You can't get very specific in the intro because overtime laws vary so widely from country to country. As a result the opening sentence is left very broad. But I think it still very accurately defines what overtime is. Any specifics about overtime laws can be handled in sections devoted to each nation's overtime laws.

Well, OK - but to characterise it solely by society's 'judgement' is peculiar. For example young doctors have traditionally worked long hours, and too long as far as most people are concerned, and that was not taken to be overtime. So I think the definition isn't accurate.

Charles Matthews 16:03, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

My dictionary just says 'in addition to regular hours'. Charles Matthews 16:05, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

OK, so what are "regular" hours and who determines it? Some entity/institution must decide what is considered overtime. It is an arbitrary judgment call that each culture, each nation, must determine.
You mentioned the fact that doctors don't fall under overtime laws in the U.S. This is pointed out in the section "U.S. overtime law" when it mentions the distinction between exempt employees and non-exempt. These laws are put in place by the U.S. Government (i.e. society). American society, via the democtatic process, made a judgment that doctors should be exempt from overtime laws. Congress could have just as easily written the law so that doctors should be covered by overtime regulations.
I just did a quick Google search and found this interesting article about striking doctors in Ireland not being paid overtime. It helps illustrate my point about the fact that societies/nations/cultures decide overtime laws. Scroll down about half way: [[1]] So, yes, these laws are arbitrary and these laws change and they vary from nation to nation. Therefore, there can be no universal, detailed definition of what overtime is. You can only give a specific definition of overtime when you are talking about one particular society.
Is there a specific definition that you are proposing as an alternative? Nysus 19:29, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Well, I'm actually writing from a UK perspective. You'd be quite correct to point out that there are massive cultural factors at work: UK/USA, UK/Germany are both interesting from that point of view. But there is surely some basic framework here: those paid an hourly wage are usually on some understanding about 'regular hours', if in full time work, and contracted on the basis of a rate paid for hours worked in excess. Those on a salary are usually not in that position. The doctors business has been quite notorious, because of traditional contracts having them on call for up 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. But this makes it more complex to explain, I believe, not impossible.

Actually, here in the U.S., you can receive a salary and still receive overtime. Receiving a salary is only one of the criteria for determining who is eligible and who is not eligible for overtime. Nysus 20:33, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

By the way, I only noticed this page because I was struck by the small number of pages at WP covering such a fundamental topic as 'work'. Charles Matthews 20:21, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

So what exactly are you saying? That you want to see the term "regular hours" used in the first sentence? Perhaps if you drafted a sentence so we'd have something concrete to discuss we could move forward. Nysus 20:28, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Well, I think it depends on the regular hours concept; but I wondered if you were using some more USA-English interpretation. Anyway, something like

Overtime is a term used for hours worked, over and above the regular hours for a given job or position. For example, in a country where a 40 hour week is the norm, a week worked of 43 hours can be regarded as having three of those hours as overtime. Overtime may be subject to statutory limitations; legislation may also enforce a higher rate of pay for overtime worked. the legal position and customary status of overtime vary widely from country to country; and also between different types of employment.

Is that common ground?

Charles Matthews 20:49, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Well, it doesn't take into account that overtime is more than just a certain number of hours beyond a "regular" work week as defined by law. That is too narrow a definition. More broadly, it is a concept that presupposes the notion that too much work is not healthy for workers and undesirable in society. In fact, originally, "overtime" was synonymous with the word "overwork." This single idea, that too much work can have negative consequences, is the entire reason overtime time laws exist. Therefore, it's my strong opinion that this fact should at least be touched upon or alluded to in any introductory statement about overtime. Nysus 21:17, 10 Oct 2004 (UTC)

So, I have now gone to the Oxford English Dictionary. We seem to be talking about the 1850s for the early use of the term. From what I can see there, while overtime and over-work (as then used) have an association, overtime is in terms of 'regular hours'. The exact citation being 'extra labour done beyond the regular fixed hours of business'. So I'm afraid I find your insistence here a bit troublesome.


Hours of work done in excess of any standard or basic working week as laid down in a contract of employment and/or collective agreement . Despite criticism from both employers and trade unions overtime levels have remained high, averaging between four and five hours for all full-time male manual workers , but increasing to nearly 10 hours a week for those male manual full-time workers who actually work overtime (only around 50 per cent. do). In 1985 the government estimated total overtime worked at 11.5 million hours, equivalent to 600,000 full-time jobs. For those who work overtime, it makes a significant contribution to pay , converting an inadequate level of pay into an acceptable wage . Thus it is often defended by workers and unions at local level, despite official disapproval.


Overtime consists of all hours worked by an employee which are in excess of the standard working week for that employee. It is normal for overtime to be paid at a higher rate than normal pay .

The maximum number of hours of overtime which an employee is entitled to work is regulated by statute: under section 41 of the Conditions of Employment Act 1936 overtime must not exceed two hours per day, or 12 hours per week, or 240 hours per year, or 36 hours in a period of four consecutive weeks. These limits can be extended under section 42 of the Act by a permit issued by the Minister for Employment and Enterprise.

In general it has been occasional Government policy to seek to reduce the overtime worked by employees in the economy overall, in the light of the general view that overtime deprives others of employment. Overtime is still, however, a regular feature of the employment scene. See hours of work .


Working time which exceeds the usual limits; colloquially, also called horas extras for short. In contrast to the situation in other countries, overtime in Spain is deemed to include all hours in excess of ordinary working hours , irrespective of whether these are established by law, collective agreement or the individual contract of employment. Spanish law restricts overtime to 80 hours per year (excluding any time spent preventing or repairing damage); makes overtime voluntary (which does not prevent it from being required by individual or collective negotiated agreement); and bans overtime at night (and at all times for under-age workers/minors ). Overtime normally attracts a premium rate of pay set by the individual contract or collective agreement, although the most recent legislation seeks to encourage its compensation, instead, by paid time off in lieu ( descanso compensatorio ) in the interests of promoting work-sharing . Habitual use of overtime can worsen unemployment rates, and many calls have been made for its reduction or abolition; in line with the idea of work-sharing, Spanish law authorizes the Government to reduce the maximum overtime limit or abolish overtime in certain economic sectors, and successive general multi-industry agreements have recommended the abolition of all overtime not necessitated by structural reasons or force majeure.

And we can go on round Europe. The Spain one is interesting in that it suggests that the main industrial policy argument against overtime there has been that it keeps the labour force down, rather than considerations of overwork.

What to do? The regular hours part comes first wherever I look. Then it is a matter of governments having a policy on overtime. It seems clear that they do in general set a policy, in developed countries. I don't see that the abstract concept of 'overwork' is predominant, here; most governments do nothing at all to prevent overwork amongst the salaried.

Charles Matthews 06:35, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

I wasn't suggesting we not use the idea of regular hours in the intro. I'm just saying it should at least allude to the idea that overtime regulations exist to prevent overwork. Nysus 11:10, 11 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Removed text[edit]

As a result, Americans rank near the top for the average number of hours worked per year (1,979) compared to other modern capitalist nations. (International Labour Organization, Table 6b).

"Top" is imprecise. Moreover, there is newer data on another Wikipedia article. I'm replacing this claim with a numerical statistic and an internal link. -- Beland 06:09, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Hockey games?[edit]

The table of hockey games that have gone into overtime seems out of place here. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Aalgar (talkcontribs) 10:35, 18 April 2007 (UTC).

The entire Sports section could be moved to the Overtime_(sports) page.

I have added some tags to highlight this situation. I strongly agree that the list about hockey games does not belong in this article; however, I don't know if the Sports section should stay or go. I will leave it up to the general reader. TWCarlson 19:40, 17 September 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure about the Sports section in general, but the hockey list really has to go.-- 14:39, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Overtime and Overtime (sports)[edit]

I was wondering what Overtime (sports) was doing in this article in the first place when I saw it in the table of contents. Overtime in sports is entirely unrelated to the overtime of the everyday working force. Chances are the details on sports overtime are already inside the main article which it even links to. And the hockey table? I'm a big hockey fan, and I find it worth reading, but not in this article. The entire bit has to go. It's completely incongruous and irrelevant to the theme of this article. Just add Overtime (sports) to the redirects at the top separate from the general disambig and that's the end of it. Thanks, Alan 21:44, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I don't want to offend anyone, so let me ask here first. I have a blog that I update almost daily (although every so often I go out of pocket) that summarizes new published overtime cases. That's I also am trying to create a wiki just for overtime, but it's in its infancy. Would it be OK to link to those sites in external links? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Trtfsr (talkcontribs) 02:52, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

1st overtime period[edit]

1st overtime period- A4/goal @B10 .Team A's filed goal attempt is partially blocked and the ball rolls to the B3 where B17 muffs the ball . A21 recovers at the B2 and advances the ball across the goal line.#2 during a try by place kick , the kick by a44 is blocked byb21 and recovered by a14 who advances arcoss the goal line. team a is flagged for having 5 player in back field. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:21, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

1st overtime period[edit]

A overtime period- A4/goal @B10 .Team A's filed goal attempt is partially blocked and the ball rolls to the B3 where B17 muffs the ball . A21 recovers at the B2 and advances the ball across the goal line.#2 during a try by place kick , the kick by a44 is blocked byb21 and recovered by a14 who advances arcoss the goal line. team a is flagged for having 5 player in back field. high school football — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:24, 30 August 2012 (UTC)