You go to work every day, and you get paid for the work that you do there. Or so everyone assumes. Imagine being told that you were actually giving your employer a month, or more, of free work every year, that they didn’t pay you for – you’d be furious, right?
Well, it happens more often than you realise. Staying for a few extra minutes after home time to prep tomorrow’s task list, working through lunch because you want to get that crucial report done… we’ve all done it. And these extra minutes, which you’re not getting paid for, can so easily add up, turning into extra hours, weeks, or even months.
Think it’s not happening to you? Well, now you can check – our Overtime Calculator works out how much money you might be losing each year because of the unpaid work you are doing, based on how many times you arrive at work early, leave late, or work during your lunch hour. This could be as little as a few hundred pounds, or as much as several thousand, which equates to basically working for free for a few weeks, if not months, of the year.
Even worse are the figures we uncovered when we surveyed workers around the UK. On average, Brits do 45 days, or nine working weeks of overtime a year, but only 30% of them are actually paid for that time; the rest are just giving their bosses free work. But more appallingly, this equates to the average employee working for free from around the 14 September every year. You’d never sign a contract agreeing to this, but it is becoming an increasingly common part of stressed and overworked employees’ lives.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the public sector, where caring professions such as doctors and teachers always seem to be on call, and can’t clock off as easily as those in the private sector. The survey found that healthcare professionals are working a whole month’s worth of unpaid overtime a year; small wonder, perhaps, that junior doctors have been going on strike, concerned about their ability to do their job while working long hours for little pay. And teachers are doing 54 days free work per year, with 86.1% of them unpaid for their extra efforts.
In general, women get the worse deal, whatever job they do; they put in, on average, an extra 8.2 hours per week at their jobs, compared with 6.4 extra hours from men, equating to 47 free days of work per year, compared to 37 days from men. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, people in the capital work far more overtime than anyone else in the country: Londoners do an extra 8.9 hours a week, while those in the West Midlands and the Northwest do the least, at 8.1 extra hours a week.