Issue date
26 Feb 2016

date: 26 February 2016

UK workers gave their bosses £31.5 billion of unpaid overtime last year, according to a new analysis of official statistics published by the TUC today (Friday).

More than five million people put in an average of 7.7 hours extra work a week in unpaid overtime in 2015. This would add up to £6,114 a year each if they were paid the average wage for those hours.

The TUC’s 12th annual Work Your Proper Hours Day is the day when the average person who does unpaid overtime would start getting paid if they worked all their unpaid hours from the beginning of the year.

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.

Gender

The TUC study reveals that men work 1.1 billion unpaid overtime hours a year, compared to 0.9 billion hours for women. Around one in five (19.2%) men work unpaid overtime, averaging 8.5 hours per week. A similar percentage of women (19.5%) also put in unpaid hours. Despite the fact that many women work part-time the average for those undertaking unpaid overtime is still 7.1 hours a week.

Age

People aged 40 to 44 are most likely to do unpaid overtime, with more than one in four (26.9%) in this age group putting in unpaid hours compared to an average of one in five (19.4%) for all UK workers.

Industry

Public sector workers contributed £10.8 billion of unpaid overtime last year. Public sector employees make up a quarter (25.7%) of total employees but produce a third (33.6%) of all unpaid overtime.

The most unpaid overtime is done by teachers and education professionals (with more than half of them working an average of 11.9 hours unpaid every week), followed by financial institution managers  (11.2 hours), production managers (10.3 hours), functional managers such as financial, marketing, personnel managers (10.1 hours), and managers in health and care services (9.9 hours).

Region

Unpaid overtime workers in London and the West Midlands put in the most free hours, clocking up 8.2 hours a week (compared to the national average of 7.7 hours). They are followed by staff in the North West and Wales who put in 7.9 hours unpaid overtime a week, and those in the East Midlands who spend 7.8 hours a week working for free.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Too many workplaces tolerate a long-hours culture. That is why we are calling on employees to take a stand today on Work Your Proper Hours Day and take a full lunch break and go home on time.

“We do not want to turn Britain into a nation of clock watchers. Few people mind putting in extra effort from time to time when it is needed, but it is too easy for extra time to be taken for granted and expected day in day out.

“I would urge anyone worried about a long-hours culture in their workplace to join their union, to make sure they are represented and their voices are heard.”

The TUC has designed a calculator at www.worksmart.org.uk/tools/overtime-calculator where employees can enter their actual hours each week alongside the hours they are contracted to do, plus their annual salary, to find out when their unpaid overtime comes to an end and when they start being paid for the job they are contracted to do.

Notes to editors

Who works the most unpaid overtime?

1. Unpaid overtime by gender

Number working unpaid overtime

% working unpaid overtime

Average hours of unpaid overtime each week

Men

2,584,379

19.2%

8.5

Women

2,559,412

19.6%

7.1

Total

5,143,791

19.4%

7.7

2. Unpaid overtime by age

Age bands

Number working unpaid overtime

% working unpaid overtime

Average hours of unpaid overtime each week

16-19

10,272

0.9%

5.8

20-24

197,152

7.2%

6.2

25-29

553,400

17.3%

7.6

30-34

692,047

21.9%

7.6

35-39

674,717

23.6%

7.8

40-44

789,801

26.9%

7.8

45-49

793,116

24.7%

7.7

50-54

691,423

22.4%

7.6

55-59

476,867

20.3%

7.9

60-64

206,313

15.7%

6.8

65-69

47,028

10.1%

6.0

Total

5,143,791

19.4%

7.7

3. Top occupations by number of hours worked by those undertaking unpaid overtime

Occupation

Number working unpaid overtime

% working unpaid overtime

Average hours of unpaid overtime each week

Chief executives

17,487

20.0%

13.6

Teaching and education professional

723,674

50.1%

11.9

Financial institution managers

48,805

57.6%

11.2

Production managers

148,429

36.7%

10.3

Functional managers*

324,766

44.0%

10.1

Managers in health and care services

24,568

33.7

9.9

Managers in other services

90,014

30.0%

9.4

Legal professionals

68,966

59.5%

9.2

Health and social services managers

48,496

56.5%

8.7

Managers in transport and logistics

62,453

38.5%

8.7

Senior officers in protective services

12,695

26.0%

8.7

*Functional managers: financial managers, marketing and sales directors, purchasing managers, advertising and public relations directors, human resource managers, IT managers.

4. Unpaid overtime by region

Number working unpaid overtime

% working unpaid overtime

Average hours of unpaid overtime each week

North East

157,773

15.0%

6.8

North West (including Merseyside)

470,193

16.1%

7.9

Yorkshire and Humberside

388,550

18.0%

7.4

East Midlands

366,179

18.6%

7.8

West Midlands

370,285

16.5%

8.2

Eastern

542,473

21.2%

7.7

London

882,902

25.0%

8.2

South East

858,203

38.3%

7.7

South West

459,456

20.5%

7.4

Wales

185,256

15.3%

7.9

Scotland

402,932

17.4%

7.4

Northern Ireland

58,000

8.3%

7.7

UK

5,142,264

19.4%

7.7

All figures on working hours are taken from the Labour Force Survey (July-September 2015 quarter). Results include both full-time and part-time employees in their main job. Note that 40.8% of women and 11.9% of men work part-time (employees). Those working less than one hour of unpaid overtime a week are excluded. Earnings data from ASHE 2015.

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