Connected Research

Union policy research in the 21st century

Make Me Wanna Holler…

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Research published today by the TUC shows that UK workers gave away £27bn in unpaid overtime in 2009.

Some five million of you regularly worked unpaid overtime last year – with the average amount of unpaid overtime being 7 hours and 12 minutes per week. On the basis of a 36-hour week, that’s exactly one additional new working day per week. The absolute number of people working unpaid overtime fell back slightly on 2008 levels, but the individual annual value of all that unpaid overtime was some 5% higher on 2008, at £5,402 (an increase of £263).

The figures (which include some interesting data at the level of the nations making up the UK and the English regions) have been released as part of the TUC’s preparation for Work Your Proper Hours Day – the day when workers start getting paid if all their unpaid overtime for the year was worked from 1 January. Pressures on workers in a recession are huge and workers susceptible to losing their jobs are, understandably, likely to do all they can to keep them – including putting in extra hours. This is why the TUC’s message this year for Work Your Proper Hours Day is that bosses ‘should thank staff for the extra work they are putting in to help businesses through the recession’ (as well as that ‘pointless presenteeism’ is bad for staff and businesses).

These figures are close to those we have found from our own surveys. The 2009 BT survey, for example, found that full-timers worked an additional 8 hours and 10 minutes on top of their contractual working week (that’s a normal week which extends not only across Saturday as a normal working day but into Sunday too). We also regularly find that stress rises significantly with working time – and 2009 was no different.

This year, Work Your Proper Hours Day is Friday 26 February. But you don’t have to wait ’til then to start claiming your life back.

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Written by Calvin

07/01/2010 at 12:46 pm

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