For different reasons, many of us occasionally choose to work overtime. But in recent years, too many employers have come to treat overtime as normal.

Any hours you work above those specified in your contract count as overtime.

Many employers will offer additional pay for overtime or anti-social hours worked, particularly for workers paid an hourly rate. If an agreement exists, it should be specified in your contract.

Unfortunately, many workers feel under pressure to work extra hours for free, whether through working long days, taking work home, or working at the weekends. Our research shows that more than five million people in the UK regularly work unpaid overtime.

If there’s a problem with unpaid overtime where you work, you can get together with co-workers to negotiate a better deal with your employer.

Unions have a lot of experience negotiating and campaigning in this area, so it is worth asking your union for advice and support on the best way forward, even if the union is not yet recognised where you work.

If you’re not already a member, use our Union Finder tool to find the right one for you.

Common
questions
My employer wants me to work extra hours in excess of those set out in my contract of employment. Do I have to work them?
You're obliged to work the hours set out in your contract terms. Your contract may also contain an express term about reasonable overtime, in accordance with the needs of the business.
Can I expect to be paid for working overtime?
That depends on your contract terms, but you must be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for all the hours your employer requires you to work
I work a lot of overtime. Should my holiday pay reflect this?