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Workers in the UK put in more than £32 billion worth of unpaid overtime last year – TUC analysis

  • More than 5 million UK workers put in a total of 2 billion unpaid hours in 2018
  • The average person doing unpaid overtime has worked the year so far for free
  • Employers must not steal their workers’ time, TUC warns

UK companies claimed £32.7 billion of free labour last year because of workers’ doing unpaid overtime, according to new analysis of official statistics published today (Friday) by the TUC.

More than 5 million people put in an average of 7.5 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2018. On average, that’s equivalent to having £6,532 taken out of individual pay packets.

Today is the TUC’s 15th annual Work Your Proper Hours Day, marking the fact that the average person doing unpaid overtime has effectively worked the year so far for free.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“It’s not okay for bosses to steal their workers’ time.

“Lots of us are willing to put in a few extra hours when it’s needed, but too many employers are taking advantage.

“Overworking staff hurts productivity, leaves workers’ stressed and exhausted and eats into time that should be spent with family and friends.

“Bosses who do steal people’s time should face consequences. So we’re calling for new rights to ensure that employers who break the rules on working time can be brought to employment tribunals.”

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