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How long can my employer keep me after my scheduled shift.

Spokane, WA |

I'm scheduled to work from 5am till 2pm.I take my 1/2 hour lunch at 9am and I get a ten min. break at about 11am.I'm expected to keep working till they tell me to go home but I am usually ignored at 2pm and I finally have to ask to go home.I'm not usually sent home till around 3:30 - 5:30.I don't mind staying if business calls for it.However,when I eat at 9am and only have 1 ten min. break I feel they should ask me if I can stay past 2pm.Not only is it hard to plan for doctors appt and picking up the kids I am fairly hungry and they watch my hours and I'm sent home really early on the last day of the pay period to keep from paying me overtime.

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Attorney answers 2


You are probably entitled to overtime pay and more breaks than you currently get. You should probably consult with a lawyer about your specifics because it doesn't sound like you are getting everything you are supposed to. For example, you are almost certainly supposed to be getting one additional 10 minute break and you should be getting time and a half after 8 hours of work in a day or 40 in a week. Sending you home early on the last day of the pay period would not be an effective way to avoid an overtime obligation. Sounds like your employer also needs to talk with an attorney. What industry you are in might make a difference but you might want to think about looking into this.

To answer your actual question though, your employer can ask you to stay as long as you are willing to stay. There is no limit to what they can ask IF YOU AGREE AND IF THEY ARE WILLING TO PAY FOR IT. I should also add that certain industries don't allow continuous working for safety reasons - like long haul truckers and rest breaks, that sort of thing.


If your employment relationship is regulated by WA Labor & Industries, you can review the information provided at for the overtime information.

Most employment relationships in WA are regulated by L&I.

For information on breaks, see .

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