Workers clocking up thousands of unpaid hours

Workers are giving away thousands of pounds in unpaid overtime by working extra hours to cope with busy workloads.

Workers are giving away thousands of pounds in unpaid overtime by working extra hours to cope with busy workloads.

5
Have your say

NORTH East workers did more than £750million-worth of unpaid overtime last year, according to new analysis published by the TUC.

The analysis of official figures shows that more than 160,000 workers in the region did unpaid overtime in 2014 worth, on average, £4,802 each.

Staff don’t mind doing a few additional hours during busy periods, but too many employers take this goodwill for granted and forget to thank their staff.

Beth Farhat, TUC North east regional secretary

Those working beyond their contracted hours did, on average, 6.8 hours of unpaid overtime a week.

The TUC analysis shows how, across the UK, workers in education put in the longest unpaid hours (9.7 per week), followed by employees in the hospitality industry (9.3) and mining and quarrying (9.2).

Unpaid overtime is more common in the public sector than the private sector with 27.4 per cent of employees in the public sector clocking up unpaid time, compared to 18.5 per cent of private sector employees).

The public sector is benefiting from £11.6billion-worth of free hours a year.

The new findings show older workers are most likely to stay beyond their official hours.

People in their early 40s are the most likely to do unpaid overtime (26.6 per cent), followed by those in their late 40s (25.4 per cent) and late 30s (25.3 per cent).

TUC North East regional secretary Beth Farhat said there was a difference between working extra hours when necessary and having to do so: “Staff in the North East work long hours and many are not paid for the extra time they put in.

“Staff don’t mind doing a few additional hours during busy periods, but too many employers take this goodwill for granted and forget to thank their staff.

“Further problems arise when those occasional extra hours become the norm, and staff become over-worked and under-paid.

“Bosses who encourage long hours in the office should re-think their approach as stressed, over-worked staff are often unhappy and less productive.”