According to the Trade Union Congress, the number of workers who do unpaid overtime work across the country has declined for four years in a row. In 2005, 4.76 million workers worked more hours than paid for, according to a study. This represents 19.4% of the total workforce, who worked an average of 7.4 extra hours per week.
The TUC has launched a “Work Your Proper Hours Day” in an attempt to encourage UK workers to lower the rate of unpaid overtime. It can be noted that the UK has a high rate of incidence of unpaid overtime work, as compared to other European Union countries, where the average proportion of workers working overtime unpaid is just 6.3%.
The Forum for Private Business, however, dismissed the move as misguided and irrelevant, especially given a small business setting, where rigid working hours may hinder a company’s productivity. Small businesses account for a third of the jobs provided the UK workforce.
In this regard, company formation and business solutions experts believe that firms should find a right balance between flexibility and efficiency. Unpaid overtime does help save on costs, but may not necessarily by beneficial in terms of employee productivity.