how much overtime is too much?

Is Working Overtime Worth It

Overtime is one of the most common ways people can earn extra money without getting second jobs or side gigs. Extra cash is great, but spending time with your family and relaxing should also be a priority. Other signs you may be working too much overtime include consistent fatigue, reduced productivity, making mistakes frequently, and having little to no personal time. Most employers also recognize these signs in employees who work overtime excessively.

At first glance, it may be hard to tell if overtime is worth it or how much overtime is too much. But the more you know about working overtime, the better you’ll be able to tell if it’s the right choice for you. 

What You Need to Know About Overtime Pay

Overtime works by allowing employees to work extra hours within a pay period for increased pay. According to the United States Fair Labor Standards Act, any employee who works more than 40 hours in a single workweek should earn overtime pay.1 After working 40 hours, an employee starts to earn at the rate of one and one-half times their regular pay rate for every extra hour worked. People refer to this rate of pay as “time and a half.” 

The traditional workweek is usually broken up into shifts of eight hours, spread out over five days of the week. Suppose you keep a traditional work schedule and want overtime pay. In that case, you may ask your employer if you could work weekends, start work early, or do extra work after regular hours. The more time you spend working overtime, the more money you will earn. 

To know whether your future job offers employees overtime hours, ask during the recruitment process. Usually, many companies collect personal data such as available working hours, desire for overtime work, and more when hiring. So if you know you definitely want to work longer hours, be sure there’s not a fundamental misunderstanding and keep your potential employer informed of your wants and needs upfront. If you already have a job and want to know if your current employer offers overtime, you can ask your company’s HR department. 

What are the General Pros and Cons if I Work Overtime?

Picking up a few overtime shifts can have some excellent benefits for your wallet. But, if you don’t maintain a healthy work-life balance, you could end up facing a great deal of stress. Before you commit to working weekends or additional hours for more money, make sure you’re well aware of the pros and cons. And make sure you’ve considered all of your options, including no credit check loans for borrowers with low credit scores.

Pros of Working Overtime 

Working overtime could help you: 

  • Earn extra money with just a few hours of extra work time
  • Gain job experience 
  • Help you save for retirement or other financial goals

Working a few additional hours a week could be a great way to earn extra money. When you have a bit of bonus income coming in each paycheck, you may find it’s easier to stay on top of your finances or meet your financial goals. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average amount of overtime worked by people in the manufacturing, durable, and non-durable goods industries is about three hours a week.2

For example, if you spend just a few hours working overtime here and there during the week, you could end up boosting your income by a few hundred dollars every month. This could be a great way to start building an emergency fund!

Working overtime can also be a great way to gain job experience. It makes sense that the longer you do something, the better at it you will become. Also, volunteering to work extra hours shows your current employer that you have the dedication to doing a good job. Taking an initiative like this may even encourage your boss to start paying you more money for your regular shifts during the week. Employers are usually willing to spend a little extra money on workers they can rely on for hard work. 

Another great benefit of overtime is that it can help you save for retirement! And learning how and when to plan for retirement is a big part of planning your future!

Cons to Consider Before Working Overtime Hours 

Cons to consider when working overtime are: 

  • Burnout
  • Fatigue 
  • Loss of family time or personal time 

Working overtime can help earn more income for your financial goals, but it should never come at the cost of your mental health. Before committing yourself to work overtime, make sure your new work schedule won’t turn your life upside down. 

For example, if you work overtime too much, you may find it difficult to find time to spend on yourself or with loved ones. Working overtime does bring in more money, but an additional hour with friends and family can be just as important at the end of the day. 

The only time you should say yes to working overtime is when you know it will fit in with your schedule and won’t cause too much disruption to your everyday life. 

Can A Company Limit My Overtime Hours? 

Unfortunately, yes. When it comes to working overtime, employers have the power to decide if they want to allow overtime work, and if so, how much. Employees have the power to control allotted overtime by the hour. If working overtime is a priority in your life, you want to make sure you and your employer are on the same page. 

When an employer schedules working hours for their employees, they almost always have overtime in mind. If a company does not allow overtime, it must be careful about how many hours they schedule for employees. Sometimes, employers may even change a schedule mid-week to avoid unwanted overtime. 

For example, suppose you were scheduled to work five shifts of eight hours during the week but ended up working four shifts of ten hours because things were busy. In that case, your employer may say you don’t have to come to work for that fifth shift. Some people might find it nice to get a surprise day off after working longer hours, or some people may view it as being cheated out of extra money. Depending on how you look at it, impromptu schedule changes can be either a pro or a con of overtime. 

And then there are some jobs that may allow you to work whatever hours you desire. Rideshare and delivery apps may allow you to work however many hours you want. If you’re an Uber driver and need a loan, you may even consider just increasing your overall hours.

Can Overtime Money Affect my Tax Bracket? 

As you work overtime, your earnings are taxed just like the rest of your paycheck, but slightly differently. Overtime pay is taxed at what is called a marginal tax rate. Marginal tax rate is the total taxes paid on any additional or extra income. While you do pay more taxes on overtime income, you still end up bringing home more money than you would if paid at your regular rate.  So don’t worry about the tax collector taking all your extra money when working overtime. 

How much overtime you work will determine if you qualify for a higher tax bracket or not. If you work more hours consistently, your total income will start to increase. The higher your income gets, the more likely it may be that you will enter the next tax bracket and end up paying a bit more in state or federal taxes. However, given the average tax rate, you would have to work extremely long hours in order to move to a higher bracket from overtime pay alone. 

Breakdown of Federal Tax Brackets 

Wondering just how much overtime money could affect your life? Here’s a breakdown of tax brackets work. Take a look so you can decide if working overtime is a smart choice for you. 

Standard Deduction for Tax Year 2023

  • Married couples filing jointly have a standard deduction of $27,700
  • Single taxpayers have a standard deduction of $13,850
  • Married individuals filing separately have a standard deduction of $13,850
  • Heads of households have a standard deduction of $20,800

Marginal Tax Rates for the Year 2023

Tax RateIncome for Single Taxpayers Income for Married Couples Filing Jointly 
37%Over $578,125Over $693,750
35%Over $231,250Over $462,500
32%Over $182,100Over $364,200
24%Over $95,375Over $190,750
22%Over $44,725Over $89,450
12%$11,000 or less$22,000 or less 
10%$11,000 or less$22,000 or less 

Disclaimer: The information provided in the tables above is based on 2023 data shared by the IRS and is intended for informational purposes only. Always consult with a tax professional or the IRS directly for specific tax-related questions or concerns. The accuracy, completeness, and applicability of the data to individual circumstances are not guaranteed.

Working Overtime FAQ

How can I tell if I’m working too much overtime?

If you notice a significant increase in your working hours beyond your regular schedule and feel constantly fatigued, it might indicate excessive overtime. Monitoring the number of hours you work in one week can help you gauge this.

How can I avoid working too much overtime?

To avoid excessive overtime, ensure you have a clear employment contract that specifies your working hours. Discuss with your employer about setting a limit on the number of hours for mandatory overtime.

What should I do if I’m working too much overtime?

If you find that you’re working excessive overtime, it’s essential to discuss your work hours with your employer. Consider renegotiating your work contract or seeking adjustments to ensure fewer hours and a better work-life balance.

What are the long-term effects of working too much overtime?

Long-term effects of excessive overtime can include burnout, decreased productivity, health issues, and making mistakes due to fatigue. It’s crucial to balance work hours to maintain overall well-being.

What happens if I exceed the limit on overtime hours?

If you exceed the limit on overtime hours, you should be compensated with overtime wages as per the overtime rate specified in your work contract. Most employers ensure that employees work overtime within the agreed limits to avoid extra pay expenses.

Who monitors employee overtime hours?

Typically, the HR department or management monitors the hours worked by employees. They ensure that each employee working overtime stays within the limits set by the employment contract and receives the appropriate extra pay.

Where is the line between appropriate and excessive overtime?

The line varies based on individual preferences and employment contracts. However, when overtime starts affecting one’s health, productivity, and personal life, it’s likely crossing into the realm of excessive overtime.

Where does overtime become harmful?

Overtime becomes harmful when it leads to burnout, health issues, making mistakes at work, and significantly reducing personal and family time.

Where do the majority of workers draw the line on overtime?

The majority of workers draw the line based on their employment contract’s stipulations and their personal comfort levels. Most employers and employees aim for a balance to ensure productivity without compromising well-being.

Where do most employers stand on the issue of overtime?

Most employers recognize the benefits of overtime for meeting business demands but also understand the risks of excessive overtime. They typically aim to strike a balance, ensuring that employees work overtime within reasonable limits to maintain productivity and employee well-being.

A Word From CreditNinja About Working Overtime

If you need 100 dollars now, working a few hours of extra overtime may be a great way to get that cash. But sometimes financial emergencies come up and working overtime isn’t enough. During those times, it’s usually in your best interest to avoid unreliable forms of funding like title loans or payday loans. Instead, CreditNinja encourages you to seek out non-loan alternatives like using funds from your savings account or even asking a friend or family member for a small loan.

If getting a loan is your only available option, you may consider personal installment loans from CreditNinja. CreditNinja has been a direct lender since 2018, and have helped more than 275,000 people find financial solutions. Check out our online application to see how much cash you could get today!*


  1. US Department of Labor—Overtime
  2. Table B-2. Average weekly hours and overtime of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls by industry sector, seasonally adjusted – 2023 M08 Results |U,S, Bureau of Labor Statistics
  3. IRS provides tax inflation adjustments for tax year 2023 | Internal Revenue Service

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