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Is over time optional?

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    HI there,

    I work part time hours and i am schedules to do 18 hours per week which I do. However, sometimes managers ask if people can help out with over time if we are scheduled to be busy. I was asked via phone tonight if i could work in the morning (its my day off tomorrow) and I am so unbelievably busy with my dissertation and assignments that I said sorry I am unavailable. They seemed ok with it, but I am worried that they may see me as being un-flexible/lazy when i refuse to do over time (i work it when i can and do offer when i have free time), particularly as i only work part time hours.

    Can employers hold it against you if you are unavailable to do extra hours at short notice? I try my best to balance uni and work but at the moment i really need to focus on my university commitments then once these are over with I can commit more to my job. Does anyone have experience with this?

    Thank you for reading
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    Well, if you want them to do you a favour in the future - like if you want more hours over the summer, or want a shift swap with little notice - then they are more likely to help you out if you have helped them out in the past. This may not apply to really large stores with a large number of employees, but even then someone who continually does extra may stand out.
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    They definitely can't force you to do more hours than those stated on your contract.

    As the person above said, doing overtime can help you in terms of the management being more likely to do favours for you.

    This is particularly important if you're on a temporary contract and want to be kept on. They may (understandably) favour those who are more slightly more flexible in terms of extra hours when deciding who to keep on.

    If you are taking on extra hours when you can though you should be fine - they can't expect you to be free all of the time, especially if you're a student.
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    They're completely optional and don't feel forced to do more hours than you should.

    It didn't affect my managements view of anyone at work - if anything, those who agreed to do overtime were taken advantage of. I have to say after all the overtime I did at my old job they never bothered to do me a favour in return which was slightly annoying and has put me off doing a 'favour' for employers ever again >_< Depends on the employer though, I guess.

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Updated: April 6, 2012
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