Study reveals employees work on average more than 2 months for free

News Article

A new study has revealed that each year UK employees work, on average, 68 days more than they are contracted to, yet receive no additional pay.

The survey, by TotallyMoney.com, questioned 2,000 people in full time salaried or hourly employment.

It found that:

  • On average British employees put in 8.4 hours of overtime each week, which adds up to 68 days of unpaid work each year
  • This is the equivalent of working for free until the 9th of March each year
  • Almost 65 per cent of people surveyed aren’t being paid for overtime worked
  • The reason most often given for working overtime was having an excessive workload
  • Only a third of British workers said they typically leave work on time
  • Four out of five workers also said they work through their lunch break each day
  • Almost 60 per cent of people surveyed feel that they don’t have a good work/ life balance.
  • Only 13 per cent of people surveyed do overtime for the love of their job
  • Teachers work an average of 6.5 hours overtime each week, with eight out of ten not being paid
  • In the healthcare sector, workers are putting in an extra 7.7 hours of overtime each week, with 55 per cent  not paid overtime

Lara Murray an Associate Solicitor and employment law specialist said: “Employment contracts need to set out the hours of work and the payment which will be received, whether this is an hourly rate or annual salary and it is also sensible to outline a company’s policy on overtime to avoid any confusion.

“In some contracts, particularly the professional services sector, it is not unusual for clauses to state that an employee will be expected to work extra hours to fulfil their duties for no additional payment.

“Whilst such clauses are legal, it is important to remember that UK working time regulations do not permit employees to work more than 48 hours each week, averaged over 17 weeks, unless they specifically agree to opt out.

Employers can ask workers to opt out of the right not to be required to work more than 48 hours per week but employees always have the right to opt back in to that protection at a later date if they choose. Indeed, it is sensible for employers to periodically obtain renewed opt-out agreements from workers that regularly work more than 48 hours per week.”

For help and advice on employment contracts and how to ensure your company fully complies with working time regulations, please contact us.