Releasing the figures for Work Your Proper Hours Day, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said this amounts to £640m worth of unpaid hours every week – £33bn a year. It said this affects 21.2% of the workforce, who are working an average 7 hours 48 minutes of unpaid overtime a week.
The TUC believes that while the rise in the amount of unpaid overtime is partly due to there being more people in work, it is likely there is also more pressure to work overtime.
Today is the first day of the year that those doing unpaid hours effectively start to get paid for the work they do over the course of the year. To mark it, the TUC is calling on staff to take a proper lunch break and leave work on time. Managers are also being encouraged to lead by example and encourage their staff to work their proper hours.
London workers do the most unpaid overtime, with 900,000 regularly putting in over eight hours of unpaid overtime every week – nearly a fifth of all unpaid hours worked across the UK. Workers in education are the group most likely to do unpaid overtime (37.7%), followed by those in professional, scientific and technical activities (33.3%).
People in their early 40s are the most likely to do unpaid overtime (26.8%), followed by those in their late 40s (25.5%) and late 30s (25.3%).
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The British workforce is often unfairly portrayed as a nation of skivers and shirkers. But the reality is exactly the opposite. The many bosses who encourage long hours in the office should re-think their approach as stressed, over-worked staff are often unhappy and unproductive.”
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