Workers in the North West did more than £2.7bn worth of unpaid overtime last year, according to new analysis published by the TUC today (Friday) to mark its annual Work Your Proper Hours Day.
The TUC’s analysis of official figures shows that more than 470,000 workers in the region did unpaid overtime in 2015 worth, on average, £5,792 each.
Those working beyond their contracted hours did, on average, 7.9 hours of unpaid overtime a week.
Work Your Proper Hours Day is the day when the average person who does unpaid overtime would start to get paid if they did all their unpaid overtime at the start of the year. To mark it, the TUC is calling on staff to take a proper lunch break and leave work on time. Managers are also being encouraged to lead by example and encourage their staff to work their proper hours.
Public sector workers contributed £10.8 billion of unpaid overtime last year. Public sector employees make up a quarter (25.7%) of total employees but produce a third (33.6%) of all unpaid overtime.
The most unpaid overtime is done by teachers and education professionals (with more than half of them working an average of 11.9 hours unpaid every week), followed by financial institution managers (11.2 hours), production managers (10.3 hours), functional managers such as financial, marketing, personnel managers (10.1 hours), and managers in health and care services (9.9 hours).
People aged 40 to 44 are most likely to do unpaid overtime, with more than one in four (26.9%) in this age group putting in unpaid hours compared to an average of one in five (19.4%) for all UK workers.
TUC Regional Secretary Lynn Collins said: “Too many workplaces in the North West tolerate a long-hours culture. That is why we are calling on employees to take a stand today on Work Your Proper Hours Day and take a full lunch break and go home on time.
“We do not want to turn Britain into a nation of clock watchers. Few people mind putting in extra effort from time to time when it is needed, but it is too easy for extra time to be taken for granted and expected day in day out.
“I would urge anyone worried about a long-hours culture in their workplace to join their union, to make sure they are represented and their voices are heard.”
The TUC has designed a calculator at www.worksmart.org.uk/tools/overtime-calculator where employees can enter their actual hours each week alongside the hours they are contracted to do, plus their annual salary, to find out when their unpaid overtime comes to an end and when they start being paid for the job they are contracted to do.