Unpaid corporate work is the norm in America, but while it’s technically legal, it’s still unethical to ask employees to work an extra 10, 20 or more hours each week without pay. Reducing this extra work is beneficial to both the health of the employees and the profits for the business.
All types of salaried or exempt employees often face a dilemma. They either spend extra hours at the office or take work home each day or they lose their job. This type of environment isn’t nearly as productive as many businesses believe.
Extra Unpaid Hours Aren’t Beneficial
Severe burnout is a real thing. Many salaried corporate employees regularly work 60 or more hours per week, but are only paid for 40. According to the FLSA, this is legal since exempt employees typically earn more and get extra benefits. But, it’s not the most ethical practice. Many European countries now have a ban that prevents employers from requiring anything over a 48-hour work week. In studies, an extra 10-20 hours per week were productive for only around three weeks before productivity sharply declined.
Sadly, the salaried perks don’t balance out all the unpaid corporate work. Many businesses even dock a salaried worker’s pay if they’re late or need to leave early. However, they don’t get paid extra or get any time off if they’re on call all weekend or have to work another 15 hours over the weekend on a big project. In fact, one Forbes contributor says in many ways being a salaried employee is a rip-off if the business doesn’t respect the employees.
Report Abuse Of Power
While technically legal, employees can use an ethics hotline to report any threats when it comes to being asked to work insanely long hours. Threatening to fire an employee if they refuse to work 24/7 or harassing them when they try to take a break or lunch isn’t ethical. All employees deserve a work/life balance and need it to remain healthy and productive.
When enough employees start filing anonymous reports along with proof of their work hours, it can be enough to make corporate want to make changes to create a better work environment. This is especially true when threats and harassment are being used as a way to push employees around.
Eliminate Extra Hours As A Punishment
In some cases, extra work is loaded on employees as punishment. This could be because an employee needed a few days off for medical reasons, stood up to a manager or just isn’t a favorite. Forcing an employee to work extra hours as a punishment isn’t ethical. Employees should report this using an ethics hotline. Even employees who just observe what’s going on should report it. This allows an unbiased team to investigate the issue.
Report Health Issues
An unhealthy workplace isn’t safe for anyone. It can lead to costly mistakes, more days out and higher turnover rates. Reporting any health issues as a result of unpaid corporate work can help show management that the practice is highly unethical and not beneficial to the company. An ethics hotline makes employees feel safer reporting these issues without the fear of retaliation in the form of losing their job or even more work. Plus, it can make management more aware of major issues arising as a result of requiring too much from their employees.