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How many hours can an employer legally work you in a 24 hour period?
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How many hours can an employer legally work you in a 24 hour period?

My friend works for a company, and there working 17 hours right now which includes lunch. There is only 7hrs in between shifts before they go back to work again.


William K
So long as the proper pay is given, there is no limit. I have worked as much as 36 hours straight before. I know nurses who regularly work a 48 hour shift.

in the US under federal laws there are no limits except for a few jobs in a few industries such as transportation, mining and health-care.

there are a FEW states that require time off between shifts and a couple that require one day off in seven. these states are the exceptions.

if you want a definitive answer edit the question but.....
most employers know what laws apply to them and do not normally make a habit of breaking them.

I worked 18 hour days for 2 years and I had a job that if the next person didn't show up I had to continue working till some one replace me. Some times that didn't happen and I would work 3 shifts in a row. Some one I worked with called the labor board and there is nothing that could be done about it. I personally didn't have a problem with it. I wanted to retire before I was 50 and I did this year at the age of 48. But I worked my a** off for it and now it has paid off. I'm enjoying life with my wife who has retired at 48 also.
So I think it depends on what you want in life, I wanted a home for my family I married at 18 and started having kids at 19 and we had 6. It was rough when I was working these hours but it all worked out. And all my 6 kids are the same way 5 of the 6 have built their own homes and the 6th one has just brought her land to do the same thing. But their all working for it and working hard. They want the same thing as me and their mother retire early.

Think of all the overtime they are getting. I would be happy to have any job right now, and certainly wouldn't rock the boat by complaining about working too many hours.

bob and dolly k
there is no limit unless your job involves driving,you need 8 hrs
between shifts. you can't work more than 16 hrs in a 24 hr period.

You need to check with the Labor Relations Board of whatever state you are in question about.
This should help solve your dilemma.

Eugene D
It varies from state to state. My employer has a 12 hour limit.

i think it actually varys from state to state
my employer wont let us do more then 12 but thats just them

Cubs Girl
There is no time limit, they just need to pay for time worked. There is a 7th day rest period that companies have to abide by. As far as hours, as long as you are over 18 there is no restrictions on that unless you are a union worker.

e holme
Thanks for the comment, I work 3:30 pm. to 12:00am my job is mandating the whole shift to return to work at 8:00. I think this is a safety issue, by the time one drives home, it could take as much as 30 to 40 min to drive home. That leaves less than 7 hours to get sleep. Not good for driving in Tennessee.

Shelter advocate
I work different night and weekend shifts at a DV shelter. Some nights, I work 16 hours, from 4pm to 8am and I get paid for the full 16 hours. We have a room there if we get to go to sleep. Some weekends or holidays are 24 hour shifts, but we only get paid for 16 of those hours. We are required to answer the hotline phone at all hours, and be available to residents at all hours. Is this legal for them to subtract 8 hours on our 24 hour shift? None of the advocates have ever gotten 8 hours of sleep on any of the 24 hour shifts, and since we are required to be there, this doesn't seem right. We often get calls in the middle of the night or have someone that needs supplies or meds and stays up late. We can't even set the alarm to keep everyone inside until 11pm at the earliest and have to email reports NLT 6:30 am. Often we have to take clients somewhere early in the morning or pick them up later at night. Since we can't leave to go home, shouldn't we be paid for the full shift?

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