UK staff did £27.4bn of unpaid overtime in 2009

Over five million workers across the UK gave away £27.4 billion in unpaid overtime in 2009, according to a TUC study of official statistics. This means that if everyone who worked unpaid overtime did it from the start of the year, they would start getting paid on Friday 26 February. We've declared this day Work Your Proper Hours Day 2010, and will be calling on bosses to thank staff for the extra work they are putting in to help businesses through the recession. With many employers and staff agreeing to reduce hours in order to avoid job losses, it seems the reduction in working time has had a knock on effect on the number of people working paid and unpaid overtime. So whilst this is a record value for unpaid overtime, the number of people doing it is actually down by 168,000 on last year, meaning the 5.07m remaining are putting in even longer hours. The TUC's 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.'
You can find out more about Work Your Proper Hours Day 2010 at www.workyourproperhoursday.com