Home > News > Overtime Costs More Than Time and a Half

Overtime Costs More Than Time and a Half

How long is your work day?  The attorneys I see slaving away over their files, your humble lawyer/blogger included, often put in ten to twelve-hour days, sometimes including evenings and weekends.  And, unless there is some extensive and complicated conspiracy amongst all the adjusters dealing with California workers’ compensation, the adjusters are seeing similar hours and overflowing work load.  Often enough, I hear surprise on the other end of the phone when a 7:00 am phone call is answered, but if you’re at work and making the call, why wouldn’t I be at work and taking it?

LinkedIn discussions place the problem with third-party administrators, underbidding and then overworking their employees, but the blame can be placed on the industry – higher costs, lower business revenues, and a worse situation for all involved.  A recent study by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health and the University College of London, draws a link between overtime work and depression and higher risk of coronary heart disease.

Why should this matter for the workers’ compensation defense community?  Well, for one, we should all be keeping an eye on our own health (remember those New Year resolutions that have yet to gather the dust of a single month?)  Another reason this matters is that, if true (and even if it isn’t), you can expect to see psyche claims based on overtime, especially if the scent of layoffs is in the air.

Recently, we saw a case in which an applicant was awarded treatment and PD for a psyche “injury” because he couldn’t keep up with the requirement of using computers to do his work.  How long before we see regular claims for being asked (or volunteering) to work overtime?

Picture the applicant giddy at the prospect of earning more money through overtime pay, then collecting benefits after filing a claim based on being asked to work overtime.

So, when are you quitting tonight?

Categories: News
  1. February 4, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Gregory,

    Thanks for an excellent post. All your comments are spot-on.

    As a Risk Management Consultant, I’ve always been amazed that, for some unknown reason, over-time and double time pay has been exempt from the computation of workers’ compensation premiums.

    In theory, even though the pay is 150% or 200% greater than a normal hour of pay, the worker was only exposed to the occupational risk for one hour.

    Yet, by definition, overtime means the person has already worked an 8 hour shift or more than 40 hours. From that point forward, they will be more exhausted and less focused – thus more likely to be injured.

    It would be an illuminating study to see how many injuries occured during over-time hours as a ratio of hours worked compared to straight time hours. I don’t think that information is available – but it would be good to know.

    Again, thanks for the great post.

    Cheers!

    Bill

    • February 4, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Bill,

      That would be an interesting study. Employers must often find a safe balance between the benefit of overtime hours and the cost of mistakes being made, both in the quality of the work and in safety mistakes that cause injuries. There seem to be so many job seekers and so much available labor right now, I would think that it would be safer to hire more people than to risk existing employees through heavy overtime.

      Thanks for visiting the WCDefenseCA!

      Greg

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