Jobs recovery and rising work pressures have led to record levels of unpaid hours

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Employees across the UK worked a record amount of unpaid overtime last year, with over 5.4 million workers putting in around £640m worth of unpaid hours every week, according to figures published today (Friday) by the TUC to mark its annual Work Your Proper Hours Day.

The TUC’s analysis of official figures shows that the number of people regularly doing unpaid hours at work increased by 331,000 last year to 5.42m – the biggest annual rise since comparable records began in 1998.

The proportion of people doing unpaid overtime is at its highest-ever level (21.2 per cent of the UK workforce), while the average amount of unpaid overtime has also reached a record high of 7 hours 48 minutes a week. Employees across the UK are now putting in around £640m worth of unpaid hours every week, or £33bn a year.

The TUC believes that while the rise in the amount of unpaid overtime is partly due to there being more people in work – the number of employees rose by 351,000 over the last year ­– the likelihood of someone having to work extra hours for free is also increasing. This suggests that people are being put under increasing pressure to do extra hours at work – often without getting paid for them.

Work Your Proper Hours Day takes place today because it is the first day of the year that those doing unpaid hours effectively start to get paid for the work they do over the course of the year. To mark it, the TUC is calling on staff to take a proper lunch break and leave work on time. Managers are also being encouraged to lead by example and encourage their staff to work their proper hours.

London is the capital of unpaid overtime, with 900,000 workers across the city regularly putting in over eight hours of unpaid overtime every week – nearly a fifth of all unpaid hours worked across the UK.

Workers in education are the group most likely to do unpaid overtime (37.7 per cent), followed by those in professional, scientific and technical activities (33.3 per cent).

People in their early 40s are the most likely to do unpaid overtime (26.8 per cent), followed by those in their late 40s (25.5 per cent) and late 30s (25.3 per cent).

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The British workforce is often unfairly portrayed as a nation of skivers and shirkers. But the reality is exactly the opposite.

“Staff across Britain work among the longest hours in Europe – and are not even paid for much of the extra time they put in.

“Staff don’t mind doing a few additional hours during busy periods, but too many employers take this goodwill for granted and forget to thank their staff. Further problems arise when those occasional extra hours become the norm, and staff become over-worked and under-paid.

“The many bosses who encourage long hours in the office should re-think their approach as stressed, over-worked staff are often unhappy and unproductive.

“If there really is much too much work to go round, employers might want to consider taking on new staff. There are 2.3 million unemployed people across the UK who would be glad of the chance.”

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Unpaid overtime, 2000-2013

Year

Number of employees working unpaid overtime (thousands)

Percentage of employees working unpaid overtime

Average hours of unpaid overtime per week

2000

4,841

20.2

7.4

2001

5,040

20.9

7.5

2002

5,003

20.6

7.3

2003

4,834

21.1

7.4

2004

4,841

19.9

7.3

2005

4,759

19.4

7.4

2006

4,865

19.4

7.1

2007

4,968

20.1

7.1

2008

5,225

20.5

7.1

2009

5,028

20.4

7.2

2010

5,255

21.0

7.2

2011

5,132

20.1

7.4

2012

5,087

20.2

7.6

2013

5,418

21.2

7.8

Unpaid overtime by region

Region

Number in region who do unpaid overtime

Average hours of unpaid overtime per week 2013

Value of unpaid overtime per year

Value of unpaid overtime per worker who does unpaid overtime by region per year

North East

172,152

6.8

£821,784,756

£4,773

North West

492,436

7.9

£2,807,822,784

£5,701

Yorkshire & the  Humber

430,669

7.4

£2,235,582,076

£5,191

East Midlands

388,432

7.8

£2,120,596,348

£5,459

West Midlands

384,672

8.2

£2,278,295,292

£5,923

East of England

581,332

7.7

£3,360,611,384

£5,782

London

904,073

8.3

£8,041,978,880

£8,895

South East

906,678

7.7

£5,703,262,136

£6,290

South West

481,113

7.4

£2,571,487,412

£5,345

Wales

192,514

7.8

£1,033,047,028

£5,366

Scotland

421,268

7.3

£2,337,932,896

£5,550

Northern Ireland

62,748

7.7

£328,625,804

£5,237

UK

5,418,087

7.8

£33,293,277,732

£6,145

Sources: ONS Labour Force Survey summer quarter 2013 and Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2013

- Breakdowns of unpaid overtime by age, gender, industry, occupation and public/private sector are available from the TUC press office.

- The TUC is organising Fair Pay Fortnight from Monday 24 March to Sunday 6 April. It will be a series of events across England and Wales to raise awareness about falling living standards. www.fairpayfortnight.org

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

- Follow the TUC on Twitter: @tucnews

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen   T: 020 7467 1248    M: 07778 158175    E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth    T: 020 7467 1372    M: 07717 531150     E: [email protected]
Elly Gibson   T: 020 7467 1337    M: 07900 910624     E: [email protected]

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