Work Your Proper Hours Day

450,000 workers in the South West put in a total of 170 million unpaid hours in 2019

The average person doing unpaid overtime has worked the year so far for free

Right to work reasonable hours must be protected in EU deal, says TUC

Employers in the South West claimed £2.7bn worth of free labour last year because of workers’ doing unpaid overtime, according to new analysis of official statistics published today (Friday) by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

More than 450,000 people put in an average of 7.2 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2019. On average, that’s equivalent to having £6,000 taken out of individual pay packets.

Today is the TUC’s 16th annual Work Your Proper Hours Day, marking the fact that the average person has effectively worked the year so far for free due to unpaid overtime hours.

Key findings from the trade union body also shows:

  • Public sector employees were more likely to work overtime (1 in 4) for free than workers in the private sector (1 in 6);
  • After chief executives, teachers and those in the education profession worked the most unpaid overtime hours per week (12.5 hours and 11.9 hours respectively)
  • And despite many women working part-time, women workers put in an average 7 hours for free every week.

As Britain begins trade negotiations with the EU, the TUC is calling for UK workers’ rights – including the Working Time Directive – to be protected in any deal.

TUC Regional Secretary for the South West Nigel Costley said:

“The government needs to crack down on Britain’s long hours culture. Too many workplaces are getting away with stealing their workers’ time.

“And it’s clear that bosses and managers are also caught in this unhealthy working culture.

“Despite what some bosses believe, overworking staff hurts productivity, leaves workers’ stressed and exhausted, and eats into time that should be spent with family and friends.

“But instead of strengthening protections for all workers, ministers want to use Brexit as an excuse to chuck out the limited protections we already have.

“That’s why any EU Trade deal needs to guarantee that employment rights, like those covered by the Working Time Directive, are protected in the future.”

To mark Work Your Proper Hours Day, the TUC is encouraging workers to take a proper lunch break and leave on time. Employers should adopt good practice and take steps to manage down unpaid overtime hours.

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