Wednesday July 18, 2018
For the road ahead

Workers in the UK put in £33.6 billion worth of unpaid overtime a year


UK workers gave their employers £33.6 billion of free labour last year by doing unpaid overtime, according to new analysis of official statistics published today by the TUC.

Today is the TUC's 13th annual Work Your Proper Hours Day. Prior to this day, the average person doing unpaid overtime has effectively worked the year so far for free.

More than 5.3 million people put in an average of 7.7 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2016. This is equivalent to an average of £6,301 they have each missed out in their annual pay packets.

To mark the day, the TUC is asking workers to take a proper lunch break and leave on time. Managers could lead by example and also think about how they can move away from over-reliance on their staff's unpaid overtime.

The TUC has designed a calculator at for workers to find out how much more they would get paid each year if their unpaid overtime was paid at their usual rate.

The TUC, which URTU is an affiliated member, is warning that working time protections could be weakened after Brexit. Although the government plans to transfer EU working time rights into UK law, they will be more vulnerable to erosion and repeal by future governments. And it could lead to a weaker interpretation of the rights in UK courts than has been established in case law by the European Court of Justice.

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:

"Few of us mind putting in some extra time when it's needed. But if it happens all the time and gets taken for granted, that's a problem. So make a stand today, take your full lunch break and go home on time.

"The best bosses understand that a long-hours culture doesn't get good results. So we're asking managers to set an example by leaving on time too.

"Anyone worried about the long-hours culture in their workplace should get together with workmates and join a union. That way you can get your voices heard and get the support you need to make sure your boss doesn't break the rules.

"The government still doesn't have a water-tight plan to stop working time protections getting weaker when we leave the EU. The Prime Minister should promise to put a guarantee into our future trade deals with Europe that British workers will have a level playing field with EU workers."



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