More than five million people put in an average of 7.5 hours a week in unpaid overtime during 2018, according to new research.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC), which recently analysed official statistics, said UK companies claimed £32.7bn of free labour last year because of workers doing unpaid overtime.
It added, that on average, this overtime is equivalent to having £6,532 taken out of individual pay packets, per person in 2018.
The union body released its findings at the TUC’s 15th annual ‘Work Your Proper Hours Day’, on March 1. TUC said this day marks the average person doing unpaid overtime has effectively worked the year so far for free.
Frances O’Grady, TUC’s general secretary, said: “It’s not okay for bosses to steal their workers’ time.
“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.”
The TUC said the government should actively enforce statutory paid annual leave, rest breaks and the right not to work more than 48 hours a week on average.
It also said these rights should be enforceable both by complaints to a government enforcement agency and by taking a case to employment tribunal. It says this dual-channel system is already used to enforce the national minimum wage (NMW), which is a flagship policy.