Five million workers put in an extra day a week in unpaid overtime


Almost five million employees worked an average extra day a week in unpaid overtime in 2005, according to a survey released by the TUC. That represents well over 20% of the UK’s 28.8 million working population.

Most clocked up more than seven hours a week in overtime, with Londoners averaging an additional eight hours and 12 minutes.

Employees in Wales worked an extra 7 hours 48 minutes a week and those in Northern Ireland were just behind on 7 hours 36 minutes.

Brendan Barber, TUC general Secretary, said: “Millions are still putting in up to an extra day a week for free, but there are now some welcome signs that some employers are beginning to realise that endless hours of unpaid overtime are often a sign of an inefficient workplace, and not something to celebrate.”

“Most people enjoy their jobs, and don’t mind putting in extra effort when there’s a rush or an emergency, but that easily turns into the long hours culture of extra hours every week,” Barber said.

However, the research indicates a slight improvement in the UK’s long hours culture. The percentage of people working an extra hour a week unpaid is now at its lowest level since 1992.

The TUC is dedicating Friday 24 February as their third Work Your Proper Hours Day and is urging workers who regularly do unpaid overtime to take a proper lunch break, and arrive and leave work on time.

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