How Many Hours Straight Can You Legally Work

Last Updated on May 11, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team

Most people need to work to fund their lives, and it is important to be secure and happy in your job or career. This is a long process for some people, and some may not find their desired career path for years into their professional lives. It can be busy in service and retail jobs, and you may be required to work more hours than you bargained for.

However, there is a legal limit to how many hours you can work a day, and this is helpful to know. In this article, we will help you understand how many hours you can work, and what to do if you’re working too much.

How Many Hours Straight Can You Legally Work?

The average workweek in the US is 40 hours a week. Anything over forty hours a week (168 hour period) is counted as overtime. A standard shift is anything between six and eight hours, and anything more than this is regarded as an extended or unusual shift. This is a shift where hours are not the usual 40 hours.

There may be situations where you may be asked or required to work overtime, for example, if the business is new or in transition. This will mean that you will work overtime depending on the needs of the business. This is common in the food industry and the service sector, and it can take a toll on your personal life.

Now, legally, there is no limit to the number of hours you can work in one day. After working eight hours, employers are required to pay you overtime, which is an extra third of your hourly wage. Companies will never force you to work an obscene amount of hours in a day, due to the fair labor standards act, and the fact that they have to pay for your overtime pay.

There may be circumstances in certain sectors such as medical and food sectors where you will work longer than expected, and there is no legal limit. Most employers are respectful to their employees, and it is unusual to be forced to work longer than you are required. All in all, anything above forty hours a week, you are entitled to decline, but it is not illegal.

This may cause issues in job security, as employers could terminate your contract if you refuse to work overtime. If you are considered a minor (16 years or younger), the legal daily working limit is eight hours a day.

What Is The Fair Labor Standards Act?

The FLSA is an act that establishes wages and work standards for employers in the US. The basic and legal requirements of the act are that employers must pay all workers doing overtime work at a rate of 1.5 times their hourly rate, the minimum wage in each state, equal pay, and rules on child labor. This law applies to all states, and it was first passed in 1938.

The law essentially protects workers and employers from being taken advantage of, and their rights as workers.

Who Is Covered By The Fair Labor Standards Act?

The FLSA covers most employees in the public sector, but some employees may not be covered by it. Those protected by the act are individuals who are employed by a state, political subdivision, or a government agency. Those who work in a private and individual sector may not be covered, and those in white-collar positions may not be covered either.

Can An Employer Make You Work 16 Hours Straight?

Technically, your employer can make you work 16 hours in a day. Due to the FLSA, you have to be paid overtime for working more than eight hours, and you are also entitled to a break. It is unlikely that you will be forced to work 16 hours straight, because they have to pay you more than they could pay someone else who hasn’t worked overtime.

Why Do Some Occupations Keep You Working For Longer?

Some employers and businesses may keep you working for longer due to the needs of their business, the fact they are short staffed, or your tasks take longer than norma. There is the also the circumstance where your role may entail you to work until something is finished, such as surgery.

Nobody wants a surgeon who walks out when it’s time to finish! There are many jobs where your labor will be needed for longer than anticipated, and this is normal for a lot of jobs.

What Can I Do If I’m Made To Work Longer Than The Legal Limit?

You can legally refuse to work on the seventh day without being penalized, and you are not required to work overtime if you are operating heavy machinery or you have a tedious and physically demanding job. Employers have the right to terminate your job if you refuse to work overtime, and since there is no legal limit, it is up to them.

Anything more than 40 hours a week is rare, and employers who mistreat and force employees to work obscene hours will most likely struggle to find new staff and their business may suffer.

What Is The Minimum Wage?

In the whole of the US, the minimum wage is $7.25. This is the MINIMUM requirement, and if you are getting paid less than this, it is illegal. Some states may have a higher minimum or living wage, due to the costs of living in the area. for example, Los Angeles has a minimum wage of $12.00, and a living wage of $19.00 due to how expensive the city is to live in.

What Is The Legal Amount Of Hours To Work In A Week?

Illinois, New York, and Wisconsin have legally granted that you cannot be made to work more than six days a week, and it most states, there is no limit. There is no limit to the amount of hours you can work a week, and some people choose to work extra part-time jobs on top of their career.

Final Thoughts:

There is no legal limit to your working hours, and employers can ask you to work as many hours a day as they like. Most employers will not make you work longer than 48 hours a week, as ultimately they are the ones paying for you. All in all, it is up to your employer how often you work, and it is up to you to discuss this with your employer. There are things you can do if you are being mistreated at work that go against the FLSA.