Study finds half of civil servants are working overtime to keep up with increasing workloads

Excessive workloads are forcing more than half of full-time civil servants to work over their contracted hours, according to research commissioned by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).

The study of 1,792 civil servants, conducted by the Centre for Industrial Relations at Keele University, found almost half (46%) worked between 40 and 48 hours a week.

One in 20 are breaking working time regulations by working more than 48 hours per week, the survey revealed.

The PCS said the report supported its claim that workloads are increasing as the government ploughs ahead with tens of thousands of public sector job cuts.

Other key findings include:

  • Nearly 40% had been to work while ill to keep up with workloads.
  • More than half are experiencing difficulties balancing work and family/private life.
  • One-third said they were not able to take their full holiday allowance.

The union is currently in the process of consulting with its 280,000 civil and public service members on what form future industrial action could take. The dispute has already seen two one-day strikes earlier this year.

Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “This report clearly illustrates that the government’s drive to slash jobs is leading to increasing workloads and embedding a long hours’ culture in civil and public services.

“With fewer people to do the same amount work, staff are under increasing pressure, leading to corners being cut, which in turn damages the quality of service delivery.”

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