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Do you deserve a higher pay rate for working weekends?

You typically do not work weekends, but just work from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday. You get an hourly wage and put in exactly 40 hours every week. If your boss tells you to come in on Saturday and work a weekend shift, do you get a higher pay rate? 

Naturally, you and your boss are allowed to come to any agreement that you’d like. If he or she offers you a higher pay rate for a weekend shift, you can accept it. Legally speaking, though, this isn’t mandatory. You have no right to get the weekends off — unless you have an employment contract that says otherwise — and you don’t have to be paid more. Your boss can simply assign you that shift and tell you to work it. You can refuse, but they can legally fire you for doing so. 

When the higher pay rate becomes necessary is when the weekend work is extra, or “overtime.” If your boss tells you not to work on Thursday and to come in on Saturday, you still work 40 hours. If they come up to you on Friday, as you finish your 40 hours, and they tell you to work an extra 8 the next day, then you deserve overtime pay. That means time and a half pay for everything over your standard 40 hours. 

It’s important to know where you stand in terms of scheduling, wages and time off. If you feel that your boss has been taking advantage of this, perhaps by asking for extra work without properly paying overtime, you also need to know what legal options you have

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