Four out of five employers have attempted to reduce paid overtime over the
past 12 months according to research by IRS Employment Review.
The most common strategies used to achieve this include changes in
management techniques, technology and work practices
The survey also reveals that at eight out of 10 firms, employees work unpaid
overtime and this has increased in a quarter of companies over the past year.
Nine out of 10 of the 150 organisations surveyed expect staff to put in
extra hours at least occasionally.
Jeremy Baugh, IRS Employment Review’s pay and benefits bulletin editor,
believes overtime is not as controversial an issue in most workplaces as it
"Apart from the cost implications, overtime has the potential to be an
emotive and politically sensitive issue," he said.
"But our research suggests overtime is perceived as something of a
neutral issue, with workers and managers generally agreeing it is not very
"This may explain why the Working Time Directive, which imposed a
48-hour maximum, seems to have had little or no impact on overtime
But Baugh warned if employers continue to reduce overtime payments or expect
staff to work extra hours for nothing, there could be a backlash.
"The respondents to our survey report that their employees rarely work
over 48 hours on a regular basis and where this does occur employees seem
willing to ‘opt out’. However, if the trend for longer hours worked and
overtime payments reduced continues, this issue may become more
The research shows that time-and-a-half is the most common overtime rate for
weekdays and Saturdays, and double time for Sundays and bank holidays.
More than 90 per cent of respondents say the introduction of the European
Working Time Directive has had "little or no impact" on overtime
By Ben Willmott