What To Do When The Boss Takes Advantage Of You?

What To Do When The Boss Takes Advantage Of You?

It happens again and again that bosses or managers think they can take advantage of their employees by forcing unpaid overtime or activities outside the job profile on them. What can you do if you find yourself in such a situation? Here we give you a brief overview of your rights.

What Is Overtime?

Typically, every employee has an employment contract that specifies the standard working hours. For a full-time position, this is usually 35 to 40 hours a week. According to the Working Hours Act, the working hours may not exceed 8 hours per day and 48 hours per week. Anything that exceeds the contractual working hours is overtime. But at what limit do you start to be exploited by your boss? To protect employees, the Working Hours Act also stipulates that employees may not work more than 10 hours a day and 60 hours a week on a selective basis. In an average of six months, the 8 or 48 hours must be reached again.

Overtime: The Fine Line Between Necessary Overtime And Being Taken Advantage Of By The Boss

Overtime is not prohibited, but employees are not required by law to work this overtime unless it is explicitly provided for in their employment contracts. Overtime should not simply “occur” in the course of everyday work. If this is the case, then something about your job description is not correct. The working hours in the contract and your job profile should match. If you work one hour more every day and do not document this, then you are already being exploited by your boss.

Overtime Can Be Ordered

Overtime must be ordered for specific reasons. These can be emergency situations because colleagues are absent due to illness. They can also be temporary peaks in demand. There must be an operational necessity. But you can also refuse to work overtime for personal reasons, for example, because of a long-term doctor’s appointment or to look after your children. Your employer cannot force you to work overtime. However, if you refuse to work overtime too often, even though your boss has given good reasons for your refusal, your employer may eventually terminate your employment. In order to prevent your boss from taking advantage of you because of overtime, overtime must be compensated.

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    How To Prevent The Boss From Taking Advantage Of You: Overtime Compensation

    In many collective agreements, it is relatively clearly regulated how overtime is to be compensated.

    • Financial compensation: The overtime worked is paid. Usually there is even a supplement to the normal hourly wage for overtime.
    • Time compensation: The overtime is credited to your personal hourly account and you can use it later, for example, by finishing work early or taking additional days off, which you must, however, declare as normal vacation days.

    It is important that there is a consensus between you and your boss on the subject of overtime and its compensation. This way, you will not be taken advantage of by your boss.

    Exceptions: In These Cases The Boss Does Not Take Advantage

    If you earn more than 7100 (West) or 6700 Euro (East), then you are not entitled to financial compensation. In addition, executive employees cannot, by definition, be exploited by their boss, because the Working Hours Act does not apply to them. Senior executives have, for example, the authority to hire employees, or have power of attorney, or clearly perform entrepreneurial functions.

    What You Can Do Not To Be Exploited By Your Boss

    To avoid situations in which you are exploited by your boss, you should document your overtime, preferably even the reason for it. This will cost you some time, but it is a valuable argumentation aid if your employer is unwilling to compensate you financially for the overtime. By documenting your activities, you make it clear to your boss what value you represent for the company. You can also determine your market value with the help of the slected career coach and find out whether your boss is taking advantage of you in terms of salary. If talks don’t yield anything, even though you have a legal right to compensation, then it’s probably time to look for a new job.

    Your Rights

    These are, in short, your rights to ensure that no boss can take advantage of you:


    • Overtime must be ordered and justified with operational emergencies/necessities.
    • You have the right to refuse overtime for compelling private reasons.
    • Overtime must not result in a violation of the Working Hours Act.
    • Overtime must be compensated financially or by time off.
    • Overtime should be the exception and not the rule.

    Career Development In Reality, Sometimes It Stalls

    If you start your first job with enthusiasm, you may quickly become disillusioned because many things are different from what you had imagined. Mind you, it can be like that, but it doesn’t have to be. Maybe you even make a promising career step relatively quickly and then your career development stagnates. You are unsure how to continue your journey. Should you change companies, are you waiting for a better boss, do you feel secure in your job and don’t want to risk anything? Make one thing clear to yourself: career development means change, standing still is not development. If standing still is okay for you, then fine. But if something inside you tells you that this can’t be it yet, then you have to become active.

    What To Do To Advance Your Career?

    You can plan your career development. You can approach career planning strategically, you can seek advice or you can use certain tools to orient yourself. For example, slected’s digital career coach is one such tool that you can use to first define your personal career goals. What do your dream job profile and the corresponding salary look like? The digital career coach shows you options for action and determines your true, current market value. With the digital career coach, you can define steps that can give your career development a significant boost.

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