Is a 12-Hour Work Day Acceptable?

12 hour workday dealership.jpg

By Ted Ings, Executive Director

Encino Motorcars v. Navarro, No. 16-1362, was a Supreme Court of the United States case addressing overtime pay.

Specifically at issue was whether automotive service advisors are eligible for overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Court heard oral arguments on January 17, 2018. The Court issued its ruling on April 2, 2018, in a 5-4 decision that reversed the Ninth Circuit and affirmed that service advisors are to be considered exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Both on the showroom floor and in the service drive, dealership employees have worked 9-hour, 10-hour, and even 12-hour days with regularity. With a standard American workday at 8 hours, it can mean an extra 10 to 20 hours per week for some staff, and that may not include weekend hours. It’s a pace that is almost impossible to keep up, taking a toll on their physical and mental well-being. 

The Effect Long Shifts Have on Auto Dealership Personnel

Ted Ings - Dealer Training Technologies.jpg

Need Help? Book a Complimentary "Ask the Expert" Discovery Call with Ted Ings

Exclusively for Dealers, Executive Managers and OEM/Lenders/Suppliers

Salespeople in the showroom are by law exempt from overtime pay because of their commission structure, but that doesn’t mean the extra hours they work are beneficial.


And in the high-paced service environment, it’s clear that not only does the staff member suffer after working overtime, but the customers and the employees’ families bear the brunt of it. 

Keep Work Days Close to the 8-Hour Standard

Everyone benefits when employees are well-rested, which is why the standard 8-hour workday should be the goal. You can increase employee satisfaction and improve your customer experience with these tips:

Add Staff to Take Up the Slack

You can’t leave the service desk or sales floor unattended, so add an extra person to work into the rotation. 

Change the Work Schedule

Stagger employee start-times to reduce the shift length. You may even be able to extend your open hours, churning more work through your shop if you can support a two shorter shifts.


This will require other support staff, managers, or technicians, but the rewards are ready to be reaped. 

Encourage Staff to Stick to their Hours

Prevent employee burnout by encouraging them to leave at the end of their shift. While dedication to the job is admirable, an employee with plenty of family time and recreation benefits from improved mental health, and consequently performs better in their career. 

Consider if working overtime is something that should be encouraged or if it needs to change.