Monday August 20, 2018
For the road ahead

Workers in the UK put in more than 31 billion worth of unpaid overtime a year

23/2/2018

  • UK workers put in a total of 2 billion unpaid hours in 2017
  • Public sector employees make up a quarter (25%) of total employees but produce more than a third (39%) of all unpaid overtime

UK workers gave their employers £31.2 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 14th 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.

Nearly 5 million people put in an average of 7.4 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2017. This is equivalent to missing out on pay averaging £6,265 each.

To mark the day, the TUC is asking workers to take a proper lunch break and leave on time. And managers should consider how to move away from over-reliance on unpaid overtime.

Workers can check how much more they'd get each year if their overtime was paid at their usual rate at http://act.goingtowork.org.uk/page/content/unpaid-overtime.

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady said:

"Lots of us are willing to put in a bit of extra time when it's needed. But it's a problem if it happens all the time. So today we're saying to workers, make sure you take a proper lunch break and go home on time.

"We're asking managers to leave on time too. Good bosses know that a long-hours culture doesn't get good results. And the best way to lead is by example.

"If you're worried about the long-hours culture where you work, get together with workmates and join a union. That's the best way to get your voice heard, and stop your boss breaking the rules."

The TUC analysis also found that while public sector employees make up a quarter (25%) of all employees, they account for more than a third (39%) of all unpaid overtime.

Frances O'Grady added:

"Public sector workers are more likely to work extra hours unpaid. It's a mark of how dedicated our public servants are - and it's kept our schools and hospitals running through years of funding cuts.

"But public service workers have also had eight years of real pay cuts, so they are being forced to do more for less. It's time the government gave them the fully-funded pay rise they have earned."

 

 

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