Issue date
23 Feb 2018
Across the UK public sector employees make up a quarter (25%) of total employees but produce more than a third (39%) of all unpaid overtime

Workers in the North West gave their employers £2.8 billion of free labour in 2017 by doing unpaid overtime, according to new analysis of official statistics published today (Friday) 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.

467,517 people in the North West put in an average of 7.6 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2017. This averages £5,897 a year that each of those workers is losing out in pay.

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 Regional Secretary for the North West Lynn Collins 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 in the North West, 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.

Lynn Collins 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 in the North West 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.”

Editors note

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Table 1 – Unpaid overtime by region and value

Nation / region

Number working unpaid overtime

Proportion working unpaid overtime

Average weekly hours of unpaid overtime

Average gross hourly pay

Total value per week (£000s)

Total value per year (£m)

Annual value per worker

North East

151,039

15.1%

7.6

£14.51

16,791

873

£5,705

North West

467,517

16.7%

7.6

£14.84

53,019

2,757

£5,897

Yorks and Humber

372,786

17.7%

7.6

£14.30

40,440

2,103

£5,641

East Midlands

353,097

19.8%

7.6

£14.33

38,312

1,992

£5,642

West Midlands

364,995

16.7%

7.8

£14.91

42,637

2,217

£6,074

Eastern

499,038

20.6%

7.5

£15.50

57,874

3,009

£6,074

London

879,376

24.8%

7.6

£21.78

146,208

7,603

£8,646

South East

835,359

23.1%

7.3

£16.75

102,298

5,320

£6,368

South West

426,882

20.4%

7.3

£14.81

45,995

2,392

£5,603

Wales

169,219

16.3%

6.6

£14.12

15,762

819

£4,844

Scotland

381,922

17.5%

6.9

£15.71

41,404

2,153

£5,637

Northern Ireland

81,400

12.6%

7.0

£14.13

7,998

415

£5,109

UK

4,984,630

19.6%

7.4

£16.20

600,514

31,227

£6,265


Table 2 – Unpaid overtime for occupations with longest average unpaid hours

Occupation

Number employees working unpaid overtime

Per cent working unpaid overtime

Average unpaid hours

Chief Executives

22,993

25.5%

14.1

Teaching and educational professionals

757,290

53.1%

12.5

Legal professionals

60,593

45.0%

9.6

Production managers

125,519

32.8%

9.5

Functional managers*

335,742

45.1%

8.8

Transport and logistics managers

52,940

39.3%

8.6

Welfare professionals

61,063

32.3%

8.6

hospitality and leisure managers 

39,471

20.8%

8.6

Finance institution managers

36,525

39.5%

8.2

Quality and regulatory professionals

44,844

33.9%

8.1

Source: the TUC’s analysis used unpublished ONS data from the Labour Force Survey (July-September 2017) and the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (2017).

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

Key UK findings

  • Gender: The TUC study reveals that men work just over 1.1 billion unpaid overtime hours a year (1,127 million hours), compared to just under 1.0 billion hours for women (951 million hours). Around one in five (19.5%) men work unpaid overtime, averaging 8.5 hours per week. A similar percentage of women (19.7%) also put in unpaid hours. Even though women are more likely than men to work part-time the average for those undertaking unpaid overtime is still 6.9 hours a week.
  • Public sector: Public sector workers contributed £12.2 billion of unpaid overtime last year. Public sector employees make up a quarter (25.2%) of total employees but produce more than a third (39.3%) of all unpaid overtime.
  • Occupations: Looked at on an individual basis, chief executives work the most unpaid hours on average each week (14.1 hours). They are closely followed by teachers and education professionals (12.5 hours per week), followed by legal professionals (9.6 hours), production managers (9.5 hours), functional managers such as financial, marketing, and personnel managers (8.8 hours) and transport and logistics managers, welfare professionals and hospitality and leisure managers (all 8.6 hours).
  • Regions: Employers in London rely most on free work, with 1 in 4 workers (24.8%) doing unpaid overtime, compared to the national average of one in five (18.4%).  Employees in London worked a total of 347 million free hours last year. The South East follows close behind, with 23.1% working unpaid overtime, whilst 20.6% in the Eastern Region and 20.4% in the South West are working free hours. However, the 365,000 unpaid overtime workers in the West Midlands have edged ahead when it comes to most unpaid hours each (7.8 hours per week, compared to the national average of 7.4 hours). London, the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East Midlands and the North West are all close behind, with unpaid overtime workers averaging 7.6 free hours per week.
  • Age: People in their 40s are most likely to do unpaid overtime, with more (23.4%) in this age group putting in unpaid hours compared to an average of less than one in five (18.4%) for all UK workers.

- The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 49 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living.

North West contacts:
James McKenna
jmckenna@tuc.org.uk
07788 414 578

National TUC press office:
media@tuc.org.uk
020 7467 1248