Employers saved 27.4 billion in 2009 through staff working unpaid overtime
David Woods, January 06, 2010
More than five million workers across the UK gave away 27.4 billion in unpaid overtime in last year.
A report from the TUC shows 5.07 million people regularly worked unpaid overtime in 2009, a decline of 168,000 since 2008.
Staff who did unpaid overtime worked an average of 7 hours 12 minutes a week, worth £5,402 a year - the highest amount since records began in the late 1990s - and an increase of £263 since 2008.
Of the five million employees who worked unpaid overtime, nearly 900,000 regularly worked more than ten hours a week for free. Workers in Northern Ireland (23.1% of those who worked unpaid overtime), the East Midlands (21.3%) and London (20.6%) were the most likely to do more than ten hours of unpaid overtime a week.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "The recession has forced many employees to do less hours in an effort to save jobs and this has also had an effect on the amount of unpaid overtime worked.
"This flexibility and the sacrifices made by staff has saved jobs and kept companies afloat. Bosses should use Work Your Proper Hours Day to thank staff for the extra effort they are putting in to help their business through the recession.
"But millions of people are still working far too many hours and often they are not even being paid for it. This long hours culture causes stress and damages people's health.
"Most employers are understandably focused on fighting their way through the recession. But they shouldn't forget that working cultures such as pointless presenteeism - which keeps people at their desks for no good reason - is not just bad for staff but bad for business too."