The number of people benefiting from overtime payments has dropped by half a million during the recession, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has revealed.
Official figures show that this summer 15.8% of employees benefited from overtime pay, a fall of 1.5% since summer 2008. Now just under four million workers receive paid overtime.
The average amount of overtime earned this year was £2,888 a year per employee. In total, the UK workforce earned £10bn in paid overtime, £1bn less than in 2008.
More than half (55%) of the decline in paid overtime can be attributed to job losses, with the remaining 45% due to employees being offered fewer overtime opportunities.
Brendan Barber, the TUC’s general secretary, said: “These workers are the hidden victims of the recession. Job security remains the number one concern for workers across the country, but the sharp drop in paid overtime shows that many people in work are also suffering financially. Even those that are still earning overtime are often no longer able to claim double pay.
“Falling unemployment, decent pay rises and the revival of overtime pay are the issues that ordinary workers will use to judge whether our economy has truly recovered.”
The TUC’s research also revealed workers aged 20 to 24 had experienced the greatest fall in overtime, as the number able to do paid overtime fell by 4.2% to 15.9%.
Manufacturing, transport and communications were the worst affected industries.
The amount of paid overtime has fallen since records began in 1998, when nearly one in four workers earned paid overtime.