You Won't Believe How Much Overtime America Is Working

How much overtime do you get at your job?  Some people enjoy overtime and why not, it’s extra cash.  If you don’t hate your job and have nothing better to do, pulling a few extra hours can ensure you’re going to be able to pick up an extra case of beer on the weekend, or an extra box of tissues, depending on how you spend your spare time.  Some people like overtime so much, in fact, they work an insane amount of it.  Like over 40 hours in a single day insane.

If you’re not new to the concept of time, you may be aware that working over 40 hours a day is incredibly hard, almost entirely because there aren’t 40 hours in a day.  This did not stop Amtrak employees from cramming a full workweek plus overtime into a single day when they filled out paperwork claiming a 48 hours workday. 

Amtrak’s Office of the Inspector General just ran an audit and discovered widespread abuse of their overtime system with numerous employees claiming working over 24 hours and 10 who logged more than 40 in one day.  The 48 hours employee works in a café car and makes $23 an hour, with 31 of those hours claimed as overtime.  At time and a half that’s over $1000 in a single day.  That’s pretty amazing.

Nearly 2000 employees filed paperwork for 24 hour workdays, others were reporting over 74 hours a week of overtime.  One guy managed 130 hours in a week, 90 of them overtime.  Another guy had 110 hours logged but they were all overtime and why not, really?  If overtime pays time and a half or double time, just skip the regular hours and work nothing but overtime.  That sort of makes sense.

Amtrak isn’t alone in its ability to fleece the system.  The LA Department of Transportation, home of LA’s beloved meter maids, also go above and beyond in claiming overtime hours.  One employee there claimed so much overtime he actually tripled his yearly salary by claiming $155k in overtime. 

On the painting side of things, those guys who paint the line son the road claimed an overage of $48,000 in overtime per year.  That’s every single guy who works in that department.  That’s a lot of yellow lines. And, for some perspective, the median household income in LA is $27,000.  So these guys are living pretty large.  At least one employee filed for 261 hours over a two week period.  And worse, no one even got fired because of how crappy their paperwork is.  Even after the audit turned up these numbers, there was insufficient evidence regarding work actually performed to determine if the filings were fraudulent, even though it seemed possible. 

In New York, at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, one prison nurse got the distinction of being the state’s highest overtime worker last year when she logged 192 straight days of work, all 16.5 hour night shifts.  In five years she made $630,000 in overtime pay alone.  Most of her scheduled shifts were 3-11 but she routinely clocked out at 7:30 the next day with no break time in between, a pretty impressive feat for a 62 year old lady.  Not many seniors can work 192 days for 16 hours each with no breaks.

All of this goes to show the incredible work ethic present in various industries across the country.  The bold employees willing to work long, hard hours, sometimes hours that don’t even logically exist, to make sure the job gets done.  Good job, overtime employees.  Your hard work is making us all look good.