Workers clock up £43bn in unpaid overtime per year

Workers in an office


British workers clock up £43bn worth of unpaid overtime every year, with men doing more overtime and women more likely to work through lunch, according to a survey by

The survey of over 1,500 people found that women on average work 4.8 hours of overtime a week, compared to the 5.9 hours racked up by their male counterparts. However, 60.55% said that they regularly work through lunch, as opposed to 58.6% of men. Men were more likely to stay late at work – 46.44% said they regularly stay late in the office, as opposed to 51.29% of men. Reed says this suggests women still also take on more responsibilities elsewhere. Women are more likely to work longer hours due to staff shortages (23.4% vs 15.65% of men)

Overall the research revealed that two thirds do some form of overtime, on average nearly four yours a week. However, one in five work eight or more hours of overtime every week. Only 40 per cent are paid for the additional hours put in. Sectors where people were most likely to do unpaid overtime included teaching and engineering.

Almost three quarters of those surveyed admitted to being ‘always-on’ as they constantly check their work email outside of their regular office hours.

Lynn Cahillane, Communications Manager at, said: “This is yet more evidence of how hard the UK works. The extent to which people are willing to go above and beyond in the name of getting the job done is a positive reflection of our attitude to work and testament to how much we value our jobs.”

“This is great news for employers although businesses should always be cautious of becoming over reliant on the heroic efforts of those members of staff who are always prepared and able to go the extra mile.”

The survey comes after an initial ruling on a case of workers who do regular overtime which found that they could be eligible for holiday pay on that overtime.

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