Workers in the West Midlands did over £2bn worth of unpaid overtime last year, according to new analysis published by the TUC to mark its annual Work Your Proper Hours Day.
The TUC’s analysis of official figures shows that 380,000 workers in the region did unpaid overtime in 2014 worth, on average, £5,846 each.
Those working beyond their contracted hours did, on average, 8.2 hours of unpaid overtime a week.
Work Your Proper Hours Day is the day when the average person who does unpaid overtime would start to get paid if they did all their unpaid overtime at the start of the year. To mark it, the TUC is calling on staff to take a proper lunch break and leave work on time. Managers are also being encouraged to lead by example and encourage their staff to work their proper hours.
The TUC analysis shows how across the UK, workers in education put in the longest unpaid hours (9.7 per week), followed by employees in the hospitality industry (9.3) and mining and quarrying (9.2).
Unpaid overtime is more common in the public sector (27.4 per cent of employees) than the private sector (18.5 per cent of employees). The public sector is benefiting from £11.6 billion worth of free hours a year.
People in their early 40s are the most likely to do unpaid overtime (26.6 per cent), followed by those in their late 40s (25.4 per cent) and late 30s (25.3 per cent).
TUC Midlands Regional Secretary Lee Barron said: “Staff in the West Midlands work among the longest hours in Europe – and are not even paid for much of the extra time they put in. Staff don’t mind doing a few additional hours during busy periods, but too many employers take this goodwill for granted and forget to thank their staff. Further problems arise when those occasional extra hours become the norm, and staff become over-worked and under-paid.
Bosses who encourage long hours in the office should re-think their approach as stressed, over-worked staff are often unhappy and less productive.”