Work Your Proper Hours in the South East

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date: 20 February 2007

embargo: 00.01hrs Friday February 23 2007

Unpaid overtime is on the decline in the South East, but progress is so slow that it will take until 2031 before no-one is doing more than 10 hours unpaid extra work every week, according to an analysis of official statistics published by the TUC today (Friday).

The new research is published on the TUC's Work Your Proper Hours Day 2007, the day when people who do unpaid overtime would on average get paid if they did all their unpaid work at the start of the year. The TUC is today urging people in the South East to take a proper lunch break and leave work on time to remind managers of all the extra unpaid hours, and is calling on Britain's bosses to say thank you for the extra work by taking their staff to lunch or an after-work coffee or cocktail. There are many fun ways of marking the day at www.workyourproperhoursday.com , including the chance to win a special 'work your proper hours day' clock for a photo of what people get up to in their lunch breaks.

Those workers who do unpaid overtime in the South East put in on average an extra 7 hours 6 minutes of work a week, according to the Government's Labour Force Survey. This would add £5,084 to pay packets every year if paid at the average regional hourly wage - and across the South East adds up to more than four billion pounds (£4.41 billion).

There has been a small decline in the proportion of the workforce in the South East doing more than 10 hours a week unpaid overtime over the last five years. 143,744 employees currently do unpaid overtime averaging more than 10 hours a week, which is 4 per cent of the workforce - down from 4.8 per cent since 2001. On current trends it will take until 2031 before no-one in the South East regularly does more than 10 hours extra every week - more than an extra day's work each week. This means that the South East has seen a slightly bigger fall than the national average.

Employees across the UK will have to wait until 2030 on current trends before unpaid overtime of more than 10 hours a week disappears. Nationally 3.4 per cent of the workforce do more than ten hours overtime every week - down from 4.1 per cent in the last five years.

Southern and Eastern TUC Regional Secretary Megan Dobney said: 'Work Your Proper Hours Day is a chance to have bit of fun at work tomorrow, but it should also get people asking some serious questions about work/life balance in the South East. The best we can say is that our long hours culture is not getting any worse, and there are some real, but pretty glacial, signs of progress over the last five years.

'But we should not have to wait until 2031 before there are no longer any workers in the South East regularly doing more than 10 hours extra unpaid work each week. That is a recipe for burn-out and inefficiency. It is working stupid not working smart.

'Of course we are not calling for Britain to become a nation of clock-watchers. Most staff are happy to put in some extra time when there's an emergency or extra pressure of work, but it should not be taken for granted week in, week out. Employers in long hours workplaces should be asking hard questions about their culture, how their work is organised and whether they can repay staff through allowing more flexible working arrangements. That is why the TUC will mark Work Your Proper Hours Day by adding our support to the campaign to change the law to give everyone the right to request flexible working and a better work/life balance.'

Region

Working 10+ hours unpaid overtime 2006

Per cent working 10+ unpaid hours

Projected year when no-one will work 10+ unpaid hours

rank of decline in those working more than 10+ unpaid hours

average length of unpaid overtime

average value of annual overtime

value of overtime in region (£ millions)

2001

2006

Eastern England

81,673

4.2

3.5

2026

7

7 hours 12 minutes

£4,766

£2,112

London

134,427

5.6

4.6

2029

3

7 hours 36 minutes

£7,070

£5,016

Northern Ireland

12,991

2.2

2.1

2111

10

7 hours 12 minutes

£4,298

£301

Scotland

56,078

3.3

2.6

2025

8

6 hours 30 minutes

£4,151

£1,728

East Midlands

60,514

4.0

3.3

2030

6

7 hours

£4,302

£1,625

North East

36,917

3.1

3.7

never

12

7 hours 42 minutes

£4,509

£733

North West

81,893

4.1

3.0

2020

1

6 hours 42 minutes

£4,219

£1,781

South East

143,744

4.8

4.0

2031

5

7 hours 6 minutes

£5,084

£4,410

South West

65,704

4.0

3.1

2023

4

6 hours 54 minutes

£4,288

£1,789

West Midlands

67,828

4.2

3.2

2022

2

7 hours 12 minutes

£4,474

£1,736

Wales

30,354

2.8

2.6

2071

9

7 hours 6 minutes

£4,224

£723

Yorkshire and Humber

67,837

3.2

3.3

never

11

7 hours 12 minutes

£4,366

£1,500

UK

839,960

4.1

3.4

2030

7 hours 6 minutes

£4,800

£23,454

NOTES TO EDITORS:

The campaign website www.workyourproperhoursday.com features no-nonsense information on people's working time habits and rights, as well as many innovative 'water-cooler' web innovations:

A self-diagnosis tool to help you work out your long hours problems (are you a desk junkie, a chaos theorist, or one of the other types?)

Downloadable materials to decorate your office, or e-cards to send to your colleagues

Web games - can you work your hours, or will the overtime take its toll?

An overtime calculator to show you what your unpaid overtime would be worth if you were paid

A 'boss-a-gram' machine to send your boss an anonymous email reminder about Work Your Proper Hours Day

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

- Register for the TUC's press extranet : a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

Contacts:

Media enquiries: Tim Lezard T: 020 7467 1248; M: 07810 641459; E: tlezard@tuc.org.uk

Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248; M: 07778 158175; E: media@tuc.org.uk

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