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Working Hours Laws & Regulations
(How Many Hours Can I Work Legally?)

The Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, does not specify a limit on how many hours a day or week your employer can require you to work. However, it does require that employers pay employees overtime for any hours over 40 that the employee works in a week.
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Employee Overtime Hours and Pay

The FLSA states that any work over 40 hours in 168 hours is counted as overtime since the standard full-time work week in the U.S. is 40 hours (8 hours per day for 5 days a week). However, many employees work unusual shifts and go above and beyond this standard, putting in more than the average 40 hours.

On a workweek basis, FLSA requires employers to pay a wage of 1 1/2 times an employee’s normal pay rate after that employee has completed 40 hours of work for workers 16 and over. Weekend or night work does not apply for overtime pay unless it is over the mandated 40 hours.

Read Also: Example of Working Off the Clock

Are There Exceptions to Unlimited Work Hours?

In most cases, workers can legally work up to 24 hours in a single day. However, there are several exceptions to this rule, such as workers who are:

  • In a regulated industry, like trucking,
  • Under the age of 16, or
  • Subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

Read Also: Protected Classes in California

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. § 203) was created to establish a minimum wage, overtime pay, record keeping, and youth employment standards for employees in the private sector and Federal, State, and local governments. It also prohibits the employment of minors in “oppressive child labor”.

FLSA applies to employees engaged in interstate commerce or employed by an enterprise engaged in commerce or the production of goods for commerce. The Act was signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938.

Related Article: Split Shift in California

What Does OSHA Say About Extended Work Shifts?

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) considers a normal work shift to be no more than 8 consecutive hours during the day, 5 days a week, with at least an 8-hour rest. Any shift that incorporates more continuous hours requires more consecutive work days or requires work during the evening or night should be considered extended or unusual.

Related Article: What Is A Non-Discretionary Bonus?

What is OSHA?

OSHA is responsible for protecting worker health and safety in the United States. Congress created OSHA in 1971, following the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to ensure safe and healthy working conditions by enforcing workplace laws and standards and also by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.

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If you or a loved one was involved with suspicious working hours, you should contact S&C immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.

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