Changing Operation Hours

Dear HR Community,

Can the company change its operation hours for a certain department?

We are in the manufacturing industry and we operate on a 40-hour work week.

So overtime is paid from the 41st hour and as a result, our overtime hours may exceed 72 hours.

Hence the management wishes to consider moving to 44 hour week

Has any company done this?

Hope you can share how to proceed, considering that workers will not feel they have lost income.

Thank you in advance for your valuable input!


Changing Operation Hours

We have done this for our organisation: 23.08%

We have not done this but it is possible: 15.38%

We have not done this and don’t intend to: 38.46%

We are not sure how this can be done: 23.08%


You may try to negotiate with your employees a higher basic salary to compensate for the increased working hours. But you will not be able to change the working hours if your employees do not agree. It is even more impossible if your employees have specific normal working hours stated in their contracts. If it is just a temporary arrangement, you can state in the new contract you sign with employees that this 44-hour work week will last only for a fixed duration. Then pay a monthly standby allowance to reward them for accommodating the temporary operational needs. Be careful to state that this standby allowance will be removed once you revert to 40 hours of work per week. Since you are paying so much OT, would it be more cost-efficient to hire more employees? It will probably be cheaper. Naturally, some employees won’t be happy about this idea since it will reduce their OT. But it makes for a safer workplace when employees are not overworked. – Deb

Observe first, and analyze first, whether the productivity is proper for working the overtime hours 72 hours. No need to change operation hours, it will destroy employee morale on work motivation. Reduce the overtime with a target such as 70 hours first, then gradually become such as 65 or 60 hours. – Yani

Under the law, OT is payable after 44 hours and since your Company has been paying OT from the 41st hour, your employees have been very blessed. Explain to your employees what the EA provides and why the Company is now deciding to change, probably due to high manpower costs resulting from this OT payment and if yes, explain the need to change this to keep the manpower, save their jobs, and hopefully, Company can pay more. – Lili

Additional Comments

Changing the operation hours for a department in a manufacturing company is certainly possible, but it should be done carefully and in compliance with labor laws and collective bargaining agreements if applicable. Here are some steps and considerations to keep in mind:

Labour Law Compliance: Ensure that any changes in work hours are in compliance with labor laws, including overtime regulations, and any employment contracts or agreements that may be in place.

Employee Input: Seek input from the affected employees and their representatives, if applicable. It’s essential to involve employees in the decision-making process to ensure their concerns and needs are considered.

Collective Bargaining Agreements: If your employees are covered by a union contract or collective bargaining agreement, you’ll need to negotiate any changes to work hours with the union. This may involve bargaining and potentially making concessions in other areas to maintain employees’ income levels.

Communication: Transparently communicate the reasons for the proposed changes, emphasising that the goal is not to reduce income but to optimize work hours and potentially improve work-life balance.

Compensation Adjustment: To ensure that employees do not lose income, you may need to adjust their compensation. This could involve increasing their hourly rate or providing additional benefits.

Transition Period: Implement the change gradually to allow employees time to adapt. A phased approach can help employees and the company adjust more smoothly.

Employee Assistance: Offer support to employees who may face challenges with the new schedule, such as childcare or transportation issues.

Monitor and Evaluate: Continuously monitor the impact of the new schedule on both employees and the company’s operations. Be open to making further adjustments based on feedback and performance data.

Consult with HR Experts: Consider seeking guidance from HR professionals or consultants experienced in labor relations and workforce management. They can provide valuable insights and help navigate complex issues.

Documentation: Keep thorough records of all discussions, agreements, and changes related to the shift in work hours. This documentation can be important for legal and compliance purposes.

It’s important to approach this change with empathy and a genuine commitment to ensuring that employees do not suffer financially as a result. Open communication, collaboration with employees and their representatives, and compliance with applicable laws are key to a successful transition to a new work schedule.

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