Nearly five million employees (4,759,000) worked on average an extra day a week in unpaid overtime in 2005 (7 hours 24 minutes) according to a Trades Union Congress analysis of official figures published today.
If each employee worked all their unpaid overtime at the beginning of the year, the TUC estimates that they would have worked for free and would not start to get paid until Friday 24 February 2006. That is why the TUC has dedicated Friday 24 February as their third 'Work Your Proper Hours Day'. On that day the TUC is urging people who do unpaid overtime to take a proper lunch break, and arrive and leave work on time.
The percentage of people working at least an extra hour a week unpaid has fallen slightly, and is now at its lowest level since 1992 (19.4 per cent). Although there are still 600,000 more people working unpaid overtime than in 1992 this is a half million fall from the first 'Work Your Proper Hours Day' in 2003, when 5,217,000 worked extra hours for free.
The official figures also show that employees in small workplaces were the least likely to work unpaid overtime.
The research also shows that Londoners put in the longest hours. Those doing unpaid overtime put in an extra 8 hours 12 minutes in a week. Londoners were followed by employees in Wales at 7 hours 48 minutes and those in Northern Ireland were just behind on 7 hours 36 minutes.
Work your proper hours day: