A study carried out by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has suggested that UK workers lost £31.2 billion last year as a direct result of working unpaid overtime.
The TUC found that five million employees put in an average of 7.4 additional unpaid hours, and each lost out on an average of £6,265.
3.3 million employees in the UK regularly work more than 48 hours per week, the study revealed. Individuals who work longer hours are more likely to experience stress and depression, and be exposed to increased health risks, the TUC said.
It stated that over-reliance on unpaid overtime can also have a detrimental effect on employers: employees working long hours are prone to becoming tired, and subsequently making mistakes.
Whilst a ‘little bit of flexibility’ is fine, the TUC is urging workers to try to take proper lunch breaks and leave on time.
Commenting on the study, Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC, said: ‘Lots of us are willing to put in a bit of extra time when it’s needed, but it’s a problem if it happens all the time.
‘Good bosses know that a long-hours culture doesn’t get good results, and the best way to lead is by example.’