Unpaid overtime

By at home

What with looming deadlines and pressures at work, many of us (armed with a cup of coffee, of course) have pulled a late one in the office. But according to new figures, the average British employee worked more than seven hours a week for free last year…

A record 5.26 million worked unpaid overtime last year and missed out on £5,500 annually, which is worth £29billion to the economy, according to a new study by the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The TUC has dubbed Friday Work Your Proper Hours Day – the day the average person doing unpaid overtime would start to get paid if they did all their unpaid work at the start of the year.

“With tough economic conditions making employers reluctant to recruit, existing staff are picking up much of the increasing work load through unpaid hours,” said Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary. "While most staff are happy to put in some extra free time to help their company through, forcing staff to endlessly put in too many hours could lead to increased stress levels, which can make staff ill and reduce the quality of the work they do.

He added: "Work Your Proper Hours Day is a light-hearted campaign and today is an opportunity for bosses to thank staff for going that extra mile. But there is a serious side to excessive overtime, irrespective of whether staff get paid for it. Bosses should always be on the lookout for a damaging long hours culture in their workplace and take steps to protect their workforce."

Workers in London were most likely to work unpaid overtime at eight hours a week, followed by those in the East Midlands (7.5 hours) and North East and Scotland (both 7.4 hours).


Have you missed out on overtime pay? Do you think employers need to step up and monitor overtime hours and pay more closely? Tell us in the comments below, talk to us on Twitter or post your thoughts on our Facebook wall!

Image: Thomas Goos/DPA/Press Association Images

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