Corporate businessman working at office desk with his laptop late at night: working overtime and deadlines concept

Workers in the North West gave their employers £2.8 billion of free labour in 2017 by doing unpaid overtime, according to new analysis of official statistics published last week by the TUC.

Last Friday was the TUC’s 14th annual Work Your Proper Hours Day. Prior to this day, the average person doing unpaid overtime has effectively worked the year so far for free.

467,517 people in the North West put in an average of 7.6 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2017. This averages £5,897 a year that each of those workers is losing out in pay.

To mark the day, the TUC is asking workers to take a proper lunch break and leave on time. And managers should consider how to move away from over-reliance on unpaid overtime.

Workers can check how much more they’d get each year if their overtime was paid at their usual rate at

TUC Regional Secretary for the North West Lynn Collins said:

“Lots of us are willing to put in a bit of extra time when it’s needed. But it’s a problem if it happens all the time. So today we’re saying to workers in the North West, make sure you take a proper lunch break and go home on time.

“We’re asking managers to leave on time too. Good bosses know that a long-hours culture doesn’t get good results. And the best way to lead is by example.

“If you’re worried about the long-hours culture where you work, get together with workmates and join a union. That’s the best way to get your voice heard, and stop your boss breaking the rules.”

The TUC analysis also found that while public sector employees make up a quarter (25%) of all employees, they account for more than a third (39%) of all unpaid overtime.

Lynn Collins added:

“Public sector workers are more likely to work extra hours unpaid. It’s a mark of how dedicated our public servants are – and it’s kept our schools and hospitals in the North West running through years of funding cuts.

“But public service workers have also had eight years of real pay cuts, so they are being forced to do more for less. It’s time the government gave them the fully-funded pay rise they have earned.”


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