What's your unpaid overtime ?


Use Work Your Proper Hours day to take stock

To mark this year's Work Your Proper Hours Day Prospect has added two new resources to its WorkTime YourTime site – the union's campaign to help members get a work-life balance that works for them – and urges members to use the day to take stock of how many hours they may be working for free.

Given the uncertain economic climate, reductions in staff numbers and increasing fears about loss of income after retirement, more and more workers, particularly older people working past their traditional retirement age, may find themselves regularly putting in excessive hours.

Prospect's WorkTime YourTime campaign aims to offer resources and advice to help members who feel their work-life balance has become skewed to take action and regain control.

Analysis released by the TUC to mark today's (Friday) Work Your Proper Hours day shows that the proportion of employees in their late 50s and early 60s undertaking unpaid overtime has increased sharply in the last decade - with staff in professional careers leading the top ten occupations working longer for free.

The TUC's analysis of government statistics for the decade 2001-11 showed teachers and educational professionals topping the table, with over 50% undertaking more than nine hours per week unpaid overtime.

Other professions to feature include:

  • research and development managers, with 46% undertaking at least five unpaid hours per week
  • quality and regulatory professionals, with at least 43% putting in nearly seven extra hours per week
  • 46% of business, research and administration professionals clocking up more than seven additional hours per week.

While the TUC's findings indicate a drop of 0.2% workers doing unpaid overtime, this was due to the increase in those undertaking unpaid overtime being dwarfed by the overall growth in the working population across the decade.

They also show the number of workers in their late 50s and early 60s in this position has risen sharply, with a quarter of a million more staff undertaking unpaid overtime in 2011 than in 2001.

Workers in their late 30s top the bill, with over one in four employees in this age bracket (26.6%) regularly putting in extra hours for free.

How much unpaid overtime do you do? Use the simple hours check calculator on the WorkTime YourTime campaign pages to see how your hours add up. Reps can use the new resources on the site – a flyer to help promote the campaign and a notice board poster to advertise workplace meetings – to spread the message within their workplaces.

The date of Work Your Proper Hours Day (February 24) was chosen as it represents the day when the average person who does unpaid overtime finishes the unpaid days they do every year, and starts earning for themselves.