HR Hotline: How Many Consecutive Days Can Employees Be Required To Work?
Q: It is my understanding that in Connecticut, someone can’t work more than 13 days in a row. I have an employee who has already worked 15 consecutive days. What would happen if he worked more days without a day off?
A: In Connecticut, 12—not 13—days is the maximum permissible continuous mandatory period of work, but you’re not necessarily breaking the law if you allow an employee to work more than 12 days in a row.
It’s only illegal to compel or require someone to work that long over their objection, and/or to discipline an employee who refuses.
The statute actually says six days in a calendar week is the maximum permissible time worked.
The 12-day limit arises if an employee is required to work the last six days of one week and the first six days of the following week.
That’s 12 consecutive days, but still no more than six days in a calendar week.
Note that it is entirely permissible for a worker to voluntarily work a longer period without a day off, as long as the opportunity for a day off is available, and the worker has declined that opportunity.
So asking for volunteers is OK. Where a worker has voluntarily worked or seeks to work for a continuous stretch of more than six days in a calendar week, it would be wise to give the employee a short note advising her or him that you are approving the request/preference to work continuously without a day off, but that a day off is available if desired.
This assumes management is OK with the overtime hours incurred and any possible decline in productivity and safety as fatigue or burnout sets in.
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