The pandemic has changed the lives of many workers in Ohio – and not for the better. A recent study shows employees have been working the equivalent of 6 days a week while getting paid for 5. Is poor management to blame? Here's what you should know.
What the numbers say
A recent ADP Research Institute study uncovers some disturbing facts for employees trying their best to work through the impact of the pandemic.
- 10% of workers say they are logging 20 or more hours of free work a week, double the number from before the pandemic.
- On average, workers are recording 9.2 hours of unpaid overtime a week. That is a dramatic increase over the 7.3 hours a year earlier.
- Workers in North America saw the largest jump in unpaid overtime, averaging nearly 9 hours a week – a 125% increase in a single year.
The survey linked the rising number of unpaid hours – in effect, working more than 6 days and getting paid for 5 – to several factors.
Among them are workers forced to compensate for colleagues who either lost or left their jobs during the pandemic, and those trying to handle an increased workload that was created by the pandemic.
It’s also likely some workers, seeing a threat posed to their livelihood by the health crisis, put in the extra time out of either dedication or a fear that they, too, might lose their jobs,
The ADP survey covered 32,000 working-age adults in 17 countries.
What labor experts say
Regardless of worker attitudes, economists put the blame squarely on the shoulders of company management. They note managers have a basic responsibility to keep the number of hours employees are working under control.
“It’s lazy and irresponsible to leave it up to the employee to tell the manager whether overtime has been used,” said Kevin Rockmann, professor of management at George Mason University's School of Business.
Rockmann says managers are taking advantage of vulnerable employees who do not feel protected enough to report their unpaid overtime.
The end result could be health issues for overburdened employees or a decrease in the quality of their work.
Or they may simply decide the stress is not worth it. Then they quit their jobs, creating more pressure on management and remaining employees.
What you should say
If you are among the Ohio workers who have found themselves putting in unpaid overtime during the pandemic, you’re in a difficult position. You may have thought an hour or 2 here and there would not matter. But before you knew it, you were working an extra 8 or 10 or more hours without financial compensation.
Poor managers may doubt that you have been putting in extra time, or they may blame you for working the extra hours. And while you can pursue a lawsuit on your own, the process is complex, and one wrong move can undermine your entire case.
The wage and hour claims attorneys at Gibson Law, LLC in Ohio have been fighting for the rights of hard-working employees throughout the state since 2015. Let our law firm put our experience to work for you.