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Are employees working unpaid overtime costing others their jobs?

05 January 2012 #Employment

Potentially yes, if the Trade Union Congress (TUC) latest figures are correct.

According to the TUC Labour Force Survey Summer Quarter 2011, 5.3 million UK staff  worked an average of 7.2 hours of unpaid overtime each week in 2011. This totals almost two billion hours of unpaid overtime for the year, worth around  £29.2 billion.

These figures are said to equate to 1 million full time positions. Although the TUC accept that reducing the amount of unpaid overtime would not necessarily translate into this many extra jobs, they believe that reducing the figure should create at least some new positions.

The TUC has calculated that if a worker did all of their additional unpaid hours in one block from the start of the year, the first day they would actually earn any salary would be February 24. This date has therefore been designated the TUC “Work Your Proper Hours Day”. In the run-up to Work Your Proper Hours Day 2012, the TUC has said it will publish information and advice for both workers and their employers to try to reduce the amount of unpaid hours .

It remains to be seen however, in such challenging economic times, whether businesses can actuallly afford the expenses which would arise from a reduction in unpaid overtime, such as the cost of additional workers or less productivity if the work is simply left uncompleted. Employees may also be reluctant to reduce their unpiad overtime for fear of losing their job to someone willing to put in the extra time for free.


Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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