Research update: Paid overtime is falling – but not fast enough…

Paid overtime is falling across the economy, but nearly half the employers surveyed by Personnel Today’s sister publication, Employment Review, believe that it remains at excessively high levels.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings show that some 22.8% of full-time adult employees worked paid overtime in the 12 months to 2006 – with workers putting in a median (or mid-point) of 4.3 hours a week.

Both figures are down from the previous year, and the decline is part of a long-term trend, with nearly one-third of staff working paid overtime in the early 1990s.

But an Employment Review survey of 73 organisations, which together have more than 71,000 employees, found that 48% of the HR practitioners taking part believed that overtime in their organisation was “excessive” – nearly double the rate found in a similar survey in 2002.

If employers want to cut back overtime spending, they will have to exert pressure at management level rather than on first-line supervisors, the survey shows.

In nearly eight out of 10 (79%) organisations, line managers had some role in allocating overtime, and in two-thirds (67%), senior or middle managers were involved. Supervisors (27%) and team leaders (10%) allocated overtime only in a minority of cases.

…so line managers are clamping down

… but overtime pay does diminish with seniority

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