UK workers gave their employers £33.6 billion of free labour last year by doing unpaid overtime, according to analysis of official statistics by the TUC.
The TUC analysis for Work Your Proper Hours Day shows that more than 5.3 million people put in an average of 7.7 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2016 – equivalent to an average of £6,301.
The TUC is warning that working time protections could be weakened after Brexit because they could be repealed by future governments and there could be a weaker interpretation of the rights in UK courts than has been established in case law by the European Court of Justice.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Few of us mind putting in some extra time when it’s needed. But if it happens all the time and gets taken for granted, that’s a problem.
“The government still doesn’t have a water-tight plan to stop working time protections getting weaker when we leave the EU. The Prime Minister should promise to put a guarantee into our future trade deals with Europe that British workers will have a level playing field with EU workers.”
The Chartered Management Institute says its recent survey shows nearly eight in ten managers work for at least an additional hour each day, adding up to an extra 29 days over the course of a year. With average holiday entitlement only 28 days, this extra time cancels out managers’ annual leave, it says. Up to 10% put in more than three extra hours each day, the equivalent of working a 15-month year. More than half of managers say long working hours are leading to higher levels of stress.
It has put forward a number of recommendations to improve the quality of working life. These include avoiding digital presenteeism by giving workers the license to switch off.