40 is 40 or is 40 45?
July 24, 2012 6:31 PM   Subscribe

You are a salaried employee with no overtime. You get an hour for lunch. Do you work 9-5 or 9-6?
posted by asockpuppet to Work & Money (69 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I work 8-5, which is (I guess) the same as 9-6.
posted by AMSBoethius at 6:32 PM on July 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

8 hours not counting lunch (so 9 hours) is unfortunately now standard in the U.S.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:33 PM on July 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

8-5 - and I eat my lunch at my desk while working :(
posted by nightwood at 6:33 PM on July 24, 2012 [5 favorites]

40 is...


As an exempt employee, your compensation, by definition, doesn't depend on how many hours you put in but rather on what you actually get done.

If your employer wants to try to get the best of both worlds - Don't put up with that!

That said, how easily can you get another job? If you answer anything other than "within a week", you might want to ask you coworkers this question, rather than AskMe.

But to give a straight answer - 8 to 5, and I make damned sure I take the full hour for lunch.
posted by pla at 6:38 PM on July 24, 2012 [25 favorites]

7:45 or so until 5ish, usually.

But it's not like I spend that whole time working, knawmean?
posted by box at 6:38 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

9 to 6:30 or 7 and usually just eat quickly at my desk.
posted by octothorpe at 6:38 PM on July 24, 2012

8:30-5 with a theoretical lunch hour
posted by beyond_pink at 6:42 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I usually eat at my desk but not always. And I don't think about hours. I just work until I'm done for the day. Sometimes that's 6 hurs and sometimes it's 10 hours (rare). Most usually it's 7 or 8. Isn't that the whole point of being salaried? You're trusted to work as needed?

Of course I also answer important email pretty much all hours I'm awake wherever I am. But that's also part of being salaried.
posted by idest at 6:42 PM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

9-5:45 on paper, though practically speaking I'm here until six or six-thirty mostly. Not bad for Japan.
posted by 23 at 6:43 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

9-5. I usually work/surf at my desk through lunch, but it wouldn't really be a problem if I took the hour everyday. My work is pretty keen on promoting work/life balance.
posted by kimdog at 6:45 PM on July 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm a professional and do my job until it's done. The hours vary by a lot. That said, I try to leave the building at lunch (often for a full hour) because my day goes better with sunshine.
posted by valeries at 6:46 PM on July 24, 2012

Oh... and our work week is actually defined as 35 hours on paper.
posted by kimdog at 6:48 PM on July 24, 2012

I'm salaried, no overtime. Sometimes I work 8-4. Sometimes I work 7:30-5:00. Sometimes I work 8:30-4:50. Occasionally, my hours are completely different. Sometimes I eat at my desk. Sometimes I go out for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Sometimes I work from home.

As pla and idest write, the point of being salaried, exempt is that I am expected to produce an appropriate amount of work product within an appropriate amount of business hours and to be available to my boss and coworkers routinely during the hours that most of us are in the office. I check in with my boss regularly to make sure his expectations are being met, but then I have an amazing boss who is equally careful to make sure my expectations are being met.

Also, when I go home at the end of the day, or the end of the week, or take time off for vacation, I don't handle anything until I am back in the office. Unless I have agreed, before leaving, that I would take care of something on my time off. Nothing tragic will happen if I leave it until i get back.
posted by crush-onastick at 6:53 PM on July 24, 2012 [11 favorites]

9-6? I mean, if you're imagining a 40 hour week, the lunch hour doesn't count, but you're salaried, so 40 hours isn't as meaningful as whatever amount of time it is you need to spend to get your work done (which, I suspect, is more than 40).
posted by J. Wilson at 6:56 PM on July 24, 2012

posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:59 PM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Your company's HR manual should define this for you. Typically lunches are required, but are not considered part of the 40 hour work week.

But be sure to check that your company really does require a 40 hour work week. Mine requires 37.5, or a 7.5 hour work day.
posted by frizz at 7:00 PM on July 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

8-4:30, eat at my desk.
posted by carmel at 7:10 PM on July 24, 2012

Mine defines my work day as being 9-5 with 1 hour for lunch
posted by moiraine at 7:10 PM on July 24, 2012

9-5, lunch hour, government job.
When I worked retail (hourly wage) it was 9-6.
posted by mlle valentine at 7:28 PM on July 24, 2012

If you're asking about 'hours I potentially have to spend in the building' and you have a 40 hour workweek, then the answer is '45 hours, including lunch, could potentially be spent in the building' ('potentially' because you could take lunch off-site).

As advised above:
-check to make sure it's really a 40-hr workweek (versus 35, 37.5 or some other variation more common in government/union jobs than anywhere else)
-follow workplace culture (is it a 20 minute lunch hunched over your desk or a 90 minute boozefest at the local bar and grill? that's a workplace culture issue)
-as a salaried employee, in most cases your hours will be flexible from day to day (variable according to workplace culture, again)
-don't expect to work 40 hours if you're salaried and exempt; that's not really what that means in the 21st century North American workplace
posted by librarylis at 7:29 PM on July 24, 2012

8:30-4:30 a nice hour lunch.
posted by Cosine at 7:31 PM on July 24, 2012

10-6, 1 hour lunch.
posted by postpostpostscript at 7:36 PM on July 24, 2012

Doesn't it generally depend on the culture of your workplace? I personally would work 830 to 430, and take the hour off. You'll be more productive anyway.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:40 PM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm technically a consultant: as a junior employee, I'm expected to be 100% billable (40 hours billed in a week) or more all the time. Realistically speaking, this means your "standard" week will be 45+ hours a week, not including all the fieldwork I do and extra hours (many of which I do, thankfully, get compensated for).

Nevertheless, our workday is nominally 8:30-5:15. 45 minutes for lunch.
posted by Strudel at 7:40 PM on July 24, 2012

I work 8-4 and I generally only leave my desk for lunch once a week. This is purely by choice because I get so wrapped up in what I'm doing that I don't want to break my concentration. I can take lunch every day if I want to though and if I go over the hour every once in a while it's no big deal. Because I am salaried, no one really watches my hours - it is generally expected that I will work more when I need to work more and in return my hours can be flexible when I need them to be. My boss has been excellent about this and if I ever reach a management position I will do the same. Mostly because I think this kind of "honor system" arrangement is the best kind you can get and is beneficial for all parties. I wish all jobs were like this.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:41 PM on July 24, 2012

Whenever to whenever depending on how much work there is to do and whether or not I'm being paid or "volunteering" that week. Can't eat at my desk because my desk is in a biology lab and eating in the lab is verboten.
posted by Scientist at 7:47 PM on July 24, 2012

Agree that it depends on the day and your workload. Sometimes I get there at 7:30, sometimes 9:30. Sometimes I leave at 4, sometimes 7:00. I usually eat at my desk, but sometimes go out. It's all about getting your obligations done. The benefit of being salaried exempt is being able to leave early when you want and go shopping.
posted by sfkiddo at 8:11 PM on July 24, 2012

Nobody keeps track. That's the whole point of being salaried. Same with lunch. You get however long you take for lunch.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:15 PM on July 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

I think you're expected to put in 8 hours of work, minimum, regardless of lunch. That was the expectation at any job I've had with time tracking—which some jobs have, even if you're salaried, so they know which client to bill.

A friend's philosophy was to set his hours by his boss: get to work before your boss, and leave after your boss has left.
posted by fleacircus at 8:20 PM on July 24, 2012

our 40h week is technically a 35h week because we are all expected on pain of cranky lecture to take an hour's lunch. I can't interrupt my day like that because ADHD, so I eat peanut butter out of the jar at my desk and come in every morning about 30-45 minutes late. This is an acceptable solution to my boss but very obviously everyone's MMV.
posted by elizardbits at 8:29 PM on July 24, 2012

I work 9-5 with an hour lunch, or more usually 10-6. My employer does not have a stated policy about start/end times, except for that we should be available for meetings/consultation during "core hours".

The phrase "nine to five" is ingrained in our culture, but with lunch, it counteracts our other maxim, "the forty-hour workweek." I don't have a problem with working effectively seven hours a day when I'm present for eight--any longer and it breaks the eight-hour boundaries between work/sleep/personal time.

I don't justify this by saying/thinking things like "I make up for it when I need to stay late for emergencies", either. (Though I do stay late occasionally for emergencies, I make sure "emergencies" are rare occurrences.) The time spent is enough. If I was at work from 9-6, my employer would have zero productivity gain for that extra hour, and possibly have a miserable employee.
posted by quartz at 8:46 PM on July 24, 2012 [15 favorites]

I will say for the above, though: this philosophy is not one I discuss, ever. That's just inviting someone with the "eight hours a day" maxim stuck in their heads to come micromanage your schedule. It is impossible to explain the concept of marginal utility to those people.
posted by quartz at 8:52 PM on July 24, 2012 [12 favorites]

My answer and overallI philosophy is so similar to quartz's that it creeped me out to find it at the bottom if the thread when I went to answer.

But it does depend on the culture of the company unfortunately.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:07 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Start anywhere from 8-10AM, end anywhere from 4-6PM, usually put in a couple more hours from home before or after the office time. Rarely manage more than a few minutes for lunch. Frequent work trips where 12-14 hour days are the norm. Several hours from home on weekends are not unusual.

Expected hours differ widely between workplaces, but if you're salaried I recommend you try to set boundaries according to how you're paid. I'd definitely look at converting to hourly if my salaried job didn't compensate me well for the hours I work.
posted by SakuraK at 10:40 PM on July 24, 2012

I agree with quartz. Some people at my place of employment clearly work more; it seems to depend on your workload and what department you are in. Project managers and core administrator/deployment types seem to be there the longest. It's generally a straight 40 for me, and I don't usually consider lunch to be a break because I bring it and eat at my desk. I do get up and stretch regularly, as well as go for at least one 10-minute walk each day. I have on occasion had to work much more than 40 hours, but it is rare - I probably go over 40 hours less than 10% of the time, with only 2% being over 45.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 10:51 PM on July 24, 2012

quartz brings up an excellent point: there is a lot of research that shows people are not productive much beyond 40 hours/week on a sustained basis. Also, looking at the title of your question I think that is what you are really asking about.

I can only sustain about 6 hours of constant, intense concentration every single day. If I can truly disconnect for an hour I can be productive through a "normal" work day. My workplace doesn't provide much opportunity to disconnect during the "lunch hour" so I find myself shifting additonal work to the earlier and later parts of the day - which I can luckily do via telecommuting. If your job allows that flexibility, it's a wonderful luxury. If not, the key to survival is finding a way to truly disconnect for a while - few people are happy when they're in ON MODE 9 hours straight.
posted by SakuraK at 10:54 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by nicwolff at 11:00 PM on July 24, 2012

At one job I had to work 8 hours, so I would work through lunch and do 8-4. Another job I had to be there 7:45-4:45, whether or not I took lunch. Both were salaried, but neither position was senior/autonomous enough for me to just "work til I was done" or whatever.
posted by désoeuvrée at 12:09 AM on July 25, 2012

Salaried, 35 hr week here. I do 9-5 or 10-6 and can take an hour for lunch - I usually do, others in my team don't and they usually leave half an hour earlier. Works for us.
posted by freya_lamb at 12:48 AM on July 25, 2012

7:30-5, plus weekends and some evenings. (But everyone thinks that I work 9-3. I'm a teacher.)

And I get 50 minutes for 'lunch', which usually comes down to about 10.

So I think the answer is going to depend very significantly on your industry's expectations and hopefully your salary. But more likely the former!
posted by jojobobo at 1:18 AM on July 25, 2012

I work 9 -5 and take an hour for lunch, so have a 35 hour work week - this is in Australia.
posted by Wantok at 1:24 AM on July 25, 2012

10-6 with an hour for lunch. The contract says I have to be prepared to work unsocial hours when the business needs me. I don't get overtime for that, but I could claim lieu days.

In practice, the evening and weekend stuff is usually fun and I'm busy enough that taking the lieu days would be more hassle than letting them expire unclaimed.

I'd probably feel differently if I hated my job.
posted by the latin mouse at 1:49 AM on July 25, 2012

Salaried, fractional full time, paid for 12 hours/week here. Two days per week I turn up some time between noon and 2pm, take an hour off for lunch when most of the teachers have left (which is usually about 5pm), and I'm usually out by 10pm.

I have delayed sleep phase syndrome and an excellent employer.
posted by flabdablet at 2:20 AM on July 25, 2012

8:30-4, but I only take a half hour lunch and my work week is 35 hours.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 2:47 AM on July 25, 2012

9.30-5.30, no problem taking the full hour for lunch. I do feel like I'm on the lucky side of things in my peer group.
posted by ominous_paws at 3:44 AM on July 25, 2012

830ish to 5ish. Give or take an hour. My hours aren't really set. Lunch isn't a set time. Sometimes I take it, sometimes I don't.
posted by KogeLiz at 4:25 AM on July 25, 2012

Check your HR manual. We have a 35 hour week.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:25 AM on July 25, 2012

Salaried? Work whatever you like. I work from home full-time, heading into the office only as/when needed. Being salaried means I take care of things, solve problems, and deliver great results. Hours are meaningless.
posted by ellF at 4:27 AM on July 25, 2012

8 - 4:30 with an hour lunch
posted by unreasonable at 5:36 AM on July 25, 2012

In Washington State, you get a 15 minute break for every 4 hours you work. So in essence you can take a 30 minute lunch included in your 9-5, or you take an hour lunch plus two 15-minute breaks and work 9-6. I've worked this schedule at 2 jobs-- well, two workplaces, many jobs-- under various conditions of being hourly and salary.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:39 AM on July 25, 2012

Strictly speaking, being salaried only means you have control over what work you do on what day, as judged by your HR/payroll department, rather than having a work routine assigned by another person.

Part of a salaried position can be a requirement that you're in the office for a specific set of hours-- being salaried isn't always the equivalent of choose-your-own-hours. I'm salaried as are the people in my department, but if there's nobody in my department at the office during the hours we tell our customers they can reach us there, none of us is doing our job.

Presumably your boss has made it clear to you whether this is the case with your job.
posted by Sunburnt at 5:47 AM on July 25, 2012 [4 favorites]

I disagree with the above about Salaried meaning flexible. I was under the impression that a Salaried role is distinct from a "Commission Based Role" and simply means you get paid a fixed amount of income every pay cycle. That does not depend directly on the performance for that month.

on the hours. 9-5 with an hour for lunch in Australia and the UK means 9-5 with an hour for lunch. or some places are happy that you shift your hours and hour here or there. 8-4 / 10-6 but often not much more than that as it can mess up the workflow in the business.

I was on Salary and it was generally assumed that you would Sit at your desk for at least 9-5 even when there isn't really work to do.
posted by mary8nne at 6:19 AM on July 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm a salaried employee with a set 35 hour work-week: 9AM-5PM with 1 hour for lunch.
posted by Pineapplicious at 6:32 AM on July 25, 2012

9-5 with a full hour for lunch. Usually I take the whole hour, but occasionally work through in cases where it's genuinely necessary. This is in a US corporate setting, non-managerial.
posted by marginaliana at 6:35 AM on July 25, 2012

Did you check your HR manual?

I'd be curious to know what you found.

I used to be 10-6 with an hour lunch, but I'm hoping to move to 9-5. Overtime must be approved by my boss. We are supposed to only work 35 hours a week (at my place of employment). Not salaried, so I guess I'm hourly full-time?
posted by commitment at 6:49 AM on July 25, 2012

8-5. I take my lunch hour to go to the gym downstairs, and then eat at my desk.
posted by jph at 7:36 AM on July 25, 2012

My work week is technically 37 hours; I typically work 10 - 6 with an hour or so for lunch, but often take work home.
posted by third word on a random page at 7:42 AM on July 25, 2012

posted by troywestfield at 8:19 AM on July 25, 2012

In the United States, salaried (exempt) roles are defined by salary, pay schedule, and type of work.

"With few exceptions, to be exempt an employee must (a) be paid at least $23,600 per year ($455 per week), and (b) be paid on a salary basis, and also (c) perform exempt job duties. These requirements are outlined in the FLSA Regulations (promulgated by the U.S. Department of Labor). Most employees must meet all three "tests" to be exempt."

Thus, an exempt employee generally works on tasks that are "predominantly intellectual, require specialized education, and involve the exercise of discretion and judgment". "Nothing in the FLSA prohibits an employer from requiring exempt employees to "punch a clock," or work a particular schedule, or "make up" time lost due to absences. Nor does the FLSA limit the amount of work time anemployer may require or expect from any employee, on any
schedule. ("Mandatory overtime" is not restricted by the FLSA.)"

However, in my experience, exempt employees are typically (but not always) given flexibility and discretion over their working hours, with the caveat being that they need to meet the core requirements of the job. I have worked in exempt roles for my entire career; when I started in the late 90s, I had to be in an office between 8am and 7pm. Now, as a senior manager and consultant, I work when and where is most convenient to getting the job done.
posted by ellF at 8:50 AM on July 25, 2012

We get a paid hour for lunch, so M-F, 9am - 5pm, is 40 hours.
posted by hworth at 9:14 AM on July 25, 2012

A friend's philosophy was to set his hours by his boss: get to work before your boss, and leave after your boss has left.

Excellent advice, if you believe corporate advancement is a result of hard work. But what if the boss has a terrible commute and hates his home life, so hangs out in the office for 60+ hours a week? Feel free to match that, if you like; meanwhile, I have a life of my own to live.

It's always been 8-5 (or whatever) for me, a government contractor. That was the norm in government offices all over DC, or so we heard -- the exception being NYC, in those Mad Men-ad exec offices where 9 to 5 was the norm -- being paid for lunch, wow.
posted by Rash at 9:38 AM on July 25, 2012

I work 8:30 to 5:30 and I either go get lunch and bring it back, or I eat at my desk. Once in a blue moon, I'll have a lunch date with Husbunny or go grocery shopping for an hour or so.

Being salaried means no one is counting my minutes on or off the clock. Being salaried means that I'm more on the clock than off. FWIW
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:12 AM on July 25, 2012

I've never worked anywhere where I was paid for lunch. An 8 hour work day has always been required to be 9 hours when you take a one-hour lunch. In other words, a 30 minute lunch (to go home earlier or come in later) was not an option.

I think this sucks, but it was the way of the world before the great recession. Since the great recession, many people I've worked with felt like they had stay even longer (10-11 hour work days) to keep their positions, and most worked (answered) e-mail on nights and weekends.

Working salaried positions is even worse, because not only are you not paid for lunch, but you're also not paid for overtime.
posted by cnc at 11:34 AM on July 25, 2012

10-6, but I spend about 20 minutes eating lunch at my desk and surfing MetaFilter. This week is an anomaly because I've already worked 40 hours and it's only Wednesday. It's all part of the job.
posted by bendy at 1:06 PM on July 25, 2012

9-6. with an hour lunch. that is usually only a half hour out and half hour at my desk working.
posted by thatgirld at 2:07 PM on July 25, 2012

9-5 on paper. In practice, anywhere from 8-6 to 10-4, depending on workload.

The real question is, can you do all the work your boss is asking you to accomplish in a 9-5 window, with a full lunch? If not, stay until 6. If so, leave at 5.
posted by davejay at 2:45 PM on July 25, 2012

One of my favorite topics! I asked a similarish question, because my company manual (small, privately owned company) says our hours are 8-5 with a paid one hour lunch. My paychecks say 40 hours. I feel like that means lunch is UNpaid, or that I should be able to leave at 4. Pretty much everyone on here said I was immature and didn't understand what "salary" means. I beg to differ; I think my job doesn't understand what it means.

I come in at 8 and leave at 5, or a few minutes later. I do this because that's what everyone does, and we're all salaried. If I came in after 8 or left before 5, everyone would want to know why. I do take an hour lunch, and we have to leave between 12 and 12:30. I work at a desk job, and for the most part my work can be done in 8 hours. I guess that's lucky? I'm in logistics and everything I do is during normal business hours, AND on the west coast (which I am also on) for the most part, so after 5 there isn't much I could do, even if I wanted to.

I would much prefer to do the work and go home, since that's what everyone thinks being on salary is. I haven't worked at a single job ever that actually treated salaried employees that way though! Office politics factor more into this question than any actual rules do.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 4:32 PM on July 25, 2012

I would much prefer to do the work and go home, since that's what everyone thinks being on salary is. I haven't worked at a single job ever that actually treated salaried employees that way though! Office politics factor more into this question than any actual rules do.

Significantly, salaried can imply being forced to work specific hours. It just means that your work meets the tests outlined in my previous post; to answer the OP's question (which feels a bit chat-filtery if it's just a poll, so I'm presuming they want to know WHY we work these hours), different types of jobs will place different requirements on staff.

Sitting in a cube from 8-5 or 9-6 would be silly for me; I need to manage a client and sales account pipeline, determine strategy for various products we sell, jump into meetings as a pre-sales engineer/solution expert, and ensure that our various marketing efforts make sense and align with our overall direction. That can take 60 hours some weeks. It can take 30 others. I work when and as needed to accomplish those things; at my level, my sense is that it's assumed that I'm on top of everything, and looking for ways to grow the business. There's no micromanagement.

At a more junior level, I absolutely punched a clock. The work required being in a consistent place for consistent hours, so I was. It was still salaried, it still passed the tests above, etc.; it was just a different set of requirements.
posted by ellF at 6:06 PM on July 25, 2012

If you have to ask you shouldn't be on salary. Salaried mean you're paid to make deadlines. If you can take 3 hour lunches and make your deadlines, nobody cares. If you have to skip lunch and work to 6 to make your deadlines, that's your problem. Take it up with your boss and start looking for another job.

If you're watching the clock and bailing because the employee handbook says you only work 35 hours a week then you're gonna get fired on the next round of layoffs.
posted by latexalibi at 10:45 PM on July 25, 2012

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