Older workers in east midlands top league table for unpaid overtime

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date: 23 February 2012

embargo: 00.01 hrs Friday 24th February

The proportion of employees in their late 50s and early 60s working unpaid overtime has increased sharply in the last decade - despite a fall in unpaid hours for the rest of the workforce - according to a new TUC analysis published today (Friday) to mark Work Your Proper Hours Day.

If workers who regularly put in unpaid overtime worked all their hours from the start of the year, the first day they would get paid would be today (Friday 24 February). The TUC has named this Work Your Hour Proper Hours Day (WYPHD) in their honour.

The TUC analysis of official government figures shows that over the last decade the number of workers doing unpaid overtime has increased by just 96,000. Given the growing size of the working population, this means that the likelihood of doing unpaid overtime has fallen by 0.2 per cent.

However, the analysis reveals sharp age disparities. The proportion of workers in their early 20s doing unpaid overtime has fallen by 36 per cent in the last decade, while the likelihood of workers in their early 60s doing unpaid overtime has increased by 45 per cent.

A quarter of a million more workers in their late 50s and early 60s did unpaid overtime in 2011 than in 2001. Fears about a loss of income after retirement mean that more people are working past their traditional retirement age. This is leading more older workers to do unpaid overtime, says the TUC.

The likelihood of doing unpaid overtime increases the longer someone has been in their job. Workers who have been in the same post for at least ten years are twice as likely to work unpaid overtime (25 per cent) as those who have been working for less than a year (12.5 per cent).

Workers in their late 30s are still the most likely to work unpaid overtime, with over one in four employees in this age bracket (26.6 per cent) regularly putting in extra hours for free.

The TUC analysis also shows that teachers are the most likely to do unpaid overtime, with media professionals and managers in financial services, health and social services also featuring highly in the Work Your Proper Hours Day charts.

At least half of all workers in these professions regularly put in unpaid hours, showing that a long hours culture is now 'part of the norm', despite much of it being unpaid, bad for their health and not productive, says the TUC.

Across the UK around one in five workers (5.3 million people) put in an average of 7.2 hours of unpaid overtime per week last year, worth around £5,300 a year per person - and a record £29.2 billion to the economy.

Midlands TUC Regional Secretary Rob Johnston said: 'Over the last decade, more people are working well into their 60s - and many of them are putting in extra unpaid hours too. Here in the east midlands we know that 106,000 workers over the age of 50 do unpaid overtime, that's 29.6 percent of all those doing unpaid overtime. That is the highest rate in the country and well in excess of the national average of 26.1%.

'A lot of older workers are keen to reduce their hours as they approach retirement, but many of them have to top up their contracted hours with extra working time for free.

'Around one in five workers regularly do unpaid overtime but it's becoming the norm in far too many workplaces. Whilst most people have no objection to putting in some extra hours to help their employer through a busy period, an entrenched long hours culture causes stress, health problems and lower morale.

'We're asking employers to support Work Your Proper Hours Day today by encouraging staff to take a proper lunch break and leave work on time. Given that managers themselves tend to do a lot of unpaid hours, taking a few simple steps to address long hours problems will benefit everyone in the workplace.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Unpaid overtime by age, 2001-2011

Age band

Number working unpaid overtime 2011

Proportion working unpaid overtime 2011 (per cent)

Average hours of unpaid overtime

Number working unpaid overtime - change from 2001

Proportion working unpaid overtime - change from 2001 (per cent)

Average hours of unpaid overtime - change from 2001 (per cent)

20-24

222,131

8.8

8.8

-94,481

-36.3

+14.3

25-29

596,920

19.8

7.4

-114,275

-20.5

+12.1

30-34

656,312

23.6

7.2

-135,964

-4.8

+1.4

35-39

734,967

26.6

6.8

-66,028

-7.6

-4.2

40-44

809,317

25.3

7.4

+77,890

+2.0

+2.8

45-49

811,742

25.7

6.2

+162,026

-2.7

-27.1

50-54

700,938

25.4

6.5

+51,219

+1.2

-15.6

55-59

467,691

23.2

8.0

+149,876

+ 31.1

nil

60-64

192,691

15.7

7.5

+103,478

+45.4

+8.6

All ages

5,265,267

21.1

7.2

+96,000

-0.9

-2.7

Source: LFS summer quarters. Results smaller than 10,000 are excluded because they are not statistically significant.

Unpaid overtime by length of time with the same employer

Length of time in job

Number working unpaid overtime

Proportion working unpaid overtime (per cent)

Average weekly hours of unpaid overtime

Less than 1 year

459,918

12.5

8.4

1 year but less than 2

459,096

17.2

7.6

2 years but less than 5

1,140,057

19.9

6.9

5 years but less than 10

1,223,667

23.3

7.1

10 years but less than 20

1,240,516

25.0

6.6

20 years or more

723,408

25.8

7.5

All ages

5,265,267

21.1

7.2

Top ten occupations for unpaid overtime

Occupation

Number working unpaid overtime

Proportion working unpaid overtime (per cent)

Average weekly hours of unpaid overtime

Teaching and educational professionals

723,997

55.6

9.6

Financial institution managers and directors

49,632

52.7

10.2

Health and social services managers and directors

51,860

50.5

6.9

Media professionals

49,250

50

7.4

Functional managers and directors

293,053

47.2

8.5

Research and development managers

16,544

46.9

5.4

Business, research and admin professionals

252,415

46.4

7.4

Legal professionals

56,484

46.2

8.4

Quality and regulatory professionals

43,799

43.1

6.9

Architects, town planners and surveyors

77,139

42.8

6.9

Managers and directors in transport and logistics

67,951

42.4

7.5

Working unpaid overtime by region and age (thousands)

16-19

20-29

30-39

40-49

50-59

60-65

65+

All ages

North East

-

25

49

60

38

-

-

177

North West

-

72

120

159

21

21

-

500

Yorks and Humb

-

72

94

122

85

13

-

389

East Midlands

-

45

87

115

89

17

-

357

West midlands

-

52

104

131

97

15

-

406

Eastern

-

68

137

180

134

26

-

564

London

-

170

298

230

119

26

-

849

South East

-

129

211

283

206

31

-

876

South West

-

80

114

133

111

18

-

462

Wales

-

26

47

52

48

-

-

193

Scotland

-

59

112

122

106

13

-

418

Northern Ireland

-

11

17

23

13

-

-

66

Total UK

17

819

1,391

1,621

1,169

193

39

5,256

Source Labour Force survey summer 2011. Excludes employees working less than 1 hour unpaid overtime per week. Results smaller than 10,000 omitted as not statistically robust.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- Further information about Work Your Proper Hours Day is available at www.workyourproperhoursday.com

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

Contacts:

Media enquiries:

Rob Johnston, T: 0121 262 6383; M: 07879 497 291; E: rjohnston@tuc.org.uk

Alan Weaver, T: 0121 262 6383; M: 07771 778 694; E: aweaver@tuc.org.uk

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