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Streamer working hours and legality


I just watched the first part of Dropped Frames ep. 91. I was really interested in the discussion but what i feel like was left out was what is the part of Twitch in all of this. With IRL directory being a thing, Twitch at least seems to be pushing casting to be something that is being done more and more. Streamers are streaming for long hours for extended period. Should Twitch be responsible for streamer well being and not overworking them?

Where i’m from, Finland, it’s illegal to have someone working for too many hours in a day. Employers have to pay for over time after 8 hours a day. Maximum amount of work that one can do has to be regulated so that they have maximum of 40 hours per week in the long term. Of course there are exceptions such as fishers that can’t just stop working when they are at sea and unions have special exceptions to this.

I’m not sure how this works in USA and i would be interested to know if someone has any information about maximum work load an employer can have for their workers. Would be pretty crazy if Twitch had to pay extra for those who put out more than the regulated amount of content.

PS: I’m not providing a link to Finish work time laws as they are not provided in English.

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Twitch doesn’t employ broadcasters, they contract the service to them.


Thank you for quick answer.

This certainly makes things interesting in long term as in will there ever be a push to regulate streamers under a labor union. From what i get from Wikipedia they seem to be monoliths of old times in USA as only around 11% of workers belong to a labor union.

PS: For a quick answer to working hour limits in USA Wikipedia seems to suggest that there are no general regulations. In fact, it makes a statement that it’s expected for one to work over 40 hours a week.

If Twitch were responsible for paying you according to your time spent then that would be a different story, but as a self-employed artist/entertainer it’s up to you to build your own brand and “sell your product” according to however many hours you decide you’re willing to spend. Your income is not a per hour wage or salary, but built on ad revenue and subscription sales (as well as donations/tips, brand deals, and merchandising for more prominent streamers). Twitch is not your employer giving you minimum wage and benefits. Twitch is only responsible for regulating what type of content appears on their platform, like Youtube.

It’s a lot like being an independent game developer working alone from your room - there is no regulation on how many hours of your personal time you can spend in a single day making your game if you’re not being employed by someone else or paying someone else to work for you. Your pay comes after your product, and not before. Same with independent artists that put their art out in galleries or as reproducible prints for sale, or a Youtuber that decides how many hours behind the scenes they spend in the various phases of editing/production. On Twitch, your “customers” are your income same as all of the above, deciding how much money they’ll give you after watching your content (or ad views for audience time investment as an incidental thing). It just so happens that your work-to-sales loop is much tighter than most other independent creative ventures with customer “sales” happening in real-time during the course of your broadcast, like a street-performing musician.

Yeah, looking into employment law for the US is like staring into some kind of horrific void at the best of times. Looking into it for contractors must be doubly bad.


Here in the US we have to be paid for overtime if you work more than 40 hours in a week and you are paided by the hour. If you are paid a salery you are not entitled to over time pay. If you are paided hourly you can not work more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period.

Or contract/commission work since those are usually “this is how long the big boys say it should take, so that’s what you’re getting paid, whether you do it in less or more time.”