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TUC - More people working unpaid overtime than ever before

A record 5.26 million people worked unpaid overtime last year - the highest since records began in 1992 - a TUC analysis of official figures reveals today to mark Work Your Proper Hour Day (WYPHD).

The TUC analysis found that over one in five workers (21 per cent) regularly worked unpaid overtime last year, an increase of 0.7 percentage points since 2009 and the highest proportion since 1997.

Today is Work Your Proper Hours Day - the day when the average person who does unpaid overtime would start to get paid if they did all their unpaid overtime at the start of the year.

Last year the 5.26 million people across the UK clocked up an average seven hours 12 minutes unpaid overtime a week, worth £5,485 per person and a record £28.9 billion to the economy.

Public sector workers are the most likely to do unpaid overtime, with over one in four (26.3 per cent) regularly putting in more than seven hours of unpaid overtime a week, compared to around one in six workers in the private sector (18.9 per cent).

Workers in London are most likely to work unpaid overtime (27.8 per cent), followed by the South East (25.3 per cent) and the East of England (23.7 per cent).

Of those workers who do unpaid overtime, Londoners work the most free hours (8 per week), followed by those in the East Midlands (7.5 hours) and the North East and Scotland (both 7.4 hours).

The increasing amount of unpaid overtime worked is likely to be a symptom of tough economic conditions, low recruitment activity and rising unemployment, with staff having to pick up new work as well as the work left over by colleagues who have been made redundant, the TUC believes.

Staff in the public sector put in 702 million hours of unpaid work last year. With heavy job losses about to hit the public sector, the amount of unpaid overtime is likely to rise even higher, putting an extra strain on staff already stressed about increasing workloads, pay freezes and increased pensions contributions, says the TUC.

The TUC is calling on bosses to recognise the extra free hours that staff put in and for everyone, including managers, to work their proper hours today by taking a decent lunch break and leaving work on time.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'With tough economic conditions making employers reluctant to recruit, existing staff are picking up much of the increasing work load through unpaid hours.

'While most staff are happy to put in some extra free time to help their company through, forcing staff to endlessly put in too many hours could lead to increased stress levels, which can make staff ill and reduce the quality of the work they do.

'Public sector workers - already experiencing a sharp cut in their earnings as they have their pay frozen and pension contributions raised - will be understandably upset about the amount of extra unpaid work they are expected to do with the threat of redundancy looming over them.

'Work Your Proper Hours Day is a light-hearted campaign and today is an opportunity for bosses to thank staff for going that extra mile.

'But there is a serious side to excessive overtime, irrespective of whether staff get paid for it. Bosses should always be on the lookout for a damaging long hours culture in their workplace and take steps to protect their workforce.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Unpaid overtime by region

Region

Number working unpaid overtime

Per cent working unpaid overtime

Average hours of unpaid overtime per week

Value of unpaid overtime per worker

Value of unpaid overtime by region (£million)

North East

165,000

15.5

7.4

£4,936

814

North West

508,000

18.6

7.2

£5,078

2,579

Yorkshire and Humberside

381,000

18.3

6.8

£4,618

1,759

East Midlands

371,000

20.2

7.5

£5,140

1,907

West Midlands

350,000

16.4

6.9

£4,808

1,683

East of England

565,000

23.7

6.9

£5,027

2,840

London

875,000

27.8

8

£8,378

7,330

South East

902,000

25.3

7.1

£5,564

5,019

South West

472,000

22.0

6.6

£4,578

2,162

Wales

200,000

17.6

6.8

£4,476

895

Scotland

397,000

18.2

7.4

£5,333

2,125

Northern Ireland

71,000

11.1

7.2

£4,665

331

UK

5,259,000

21.0

7.2

£5,485

28,846

Unpaid overtime by sector

Sector

Number of employees working unpaid overtime

Per cent of employees working unpaid overtime

Average hours of unpaid overtime

Value of unpaid overtime by person

Value of unpaid overtime by sector (£billion)

Public

1,903,000

26.3

7.1

£5,940

11.31

Private

3,346,000

18.9

7.3

£5,311

11.77

Unpaid overtime 1992-2010

Year

Number of employees working unpaid overtime (thousands)

Percentage of employees working unpaid overtime

1992

4,167

19.7

1997

4,866

21.5

2001

5,040

20.9

2005

4,759

19.4

2009

5,067

20.3

2010

5,259

21.0

- Unpaid overtime of less than one hour per week is excluded from the calculations.

- Sources: ONS Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2010 and ONS Labour Force Survey Summer 2010.

- Further information on the Work Your Proper Hours Day campaign, including facts and figures, games, quizzes, downloadable posters and an online long hours advice clinic can be found at www.workyourproperhoursday.org.uk

- 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:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E:
media@tuc.org.uk
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: egibson@tuc.org.uk

 

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