As the economic recovery continues its upward momentum, overtime hours have trended ever higher – rising from around 3.9 overtime hours on average in August 2010 to 4.1 overtime hours in August 2012. It’s not hard to guess the reason why. Businesses are happily finding themselves busier and demand for their products higher than during the recession.

However, fear of an economic double dip is keeping these same employers from bringing back the full-time employees they cut during the hard times. As a result, they are paying time and a half to employees who need to work over 40 hours a week to get the work done. And as many manufacturers have started ramping up for the holidays, this trend is likely to continue in the near term.

Overtime is not only a financial concern. This year alone, a record-setting 7,000 claims have already been filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for wage and hour violations. And nearly half of U.S workers report that employers are not always following overtime rules (MSNBC, 8/28/12). It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure their companies are in compliance with the FLSA. The Department of Labor has provided a cheat sheet for determining compliance.

Temporary staffing agencies like The Select Family of Staffing Companies have proven to be a useful resource for business owners wrestling with the overtime. Instead of paying costly overtime wages, employers can bring on temporary workers to cover the extra hours needed. This is a safe and cost-effective way to allow businesses to complete the extra work of a busy season, without any type of long-term commitment in case the economy takes a turn for the worst.

As a win-win situation for both the employer and the worker, employees get the opportunity to build their résumé and gain recent working experience, while employers can “try before they buy” if business continues to be demanding and they want to bring the employee on full-time.

Readers: Does your company allow employees to work overtime?