UK workers gave their employers £31.2 billion of free labour last year by doing unpaid overtime, according to new analysis of official statistics published today by the TUC.
The TUC says nearly five million people put in an average of 7.4 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2017 which it calculates is equivalent to missing out on pay averaging £6,265 each.
To mark Work Your Proper Hours Day, the TUC is asking workers to take a proper lunch break and leave on time. It is also asking managers to consider how to move away from over-reliance on unpaid overtime.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady 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, 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.”
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.
*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/