The Chicago Employment Law Blog

Study: Working too Much Bad for Health

Is there a link between depression and overtime? Some studies don’t really need to be conducted to know what the results will be. In Britain, a study revealed that workers who worked too much suffered negative health effects. Duh.

According to the study on overtime and health, people who worked more hours than normal were at much greater risk for depression, reports HealthDay News. In the study, researchers followed about 2,000 middle-aged British government workers and found that employees who worked 11 hours or more a day were twice as likely to suffer from depression as compared to those workers who only worked seven or eight hours a day.

Given this down economy, workers are being asked to do more, work longer hours, and make less money. And if workers refuse job assignments or turn down overtime, they risk losing their jobs. Doesn’t sound too fair, does it?

Unfortunately, most workers have no recourse. When an employer tells you to work overtime, you generally must comply or suffer the consequences. The law requires employers to pay more when employees work overtime hours, but the law does not make working overtime voluntary.

Employers generally control the schedules you work (within certain parameters) and can tell you to miss the family meal or work through a weekend. Unless you suffer from some disability that prevents you from working excessive hours — or have an employment contract that dictates what hours you work — you probably have to buck down and deal with the negative effects of depression and overtime.

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