According to research published last week by the TUC, the total amount of unpaid overtime worked last year was 1,968 million hours.

The report calculates that this is worth a record £29.2 billion to the UK economy - that equates roughly to a million extra full-time jobs.

The TUC has calculated that the date by which the average person who regularly does unpaid overtime starts earning for themselves is February 24 2012. This is the TUC's “Work Your Proper Hours Day” (WYPHD). Obviously this varies depending on the amount of time the person works over and above their contracted hours.

The TUC will call on employers to mark “Work Your Proper Hours Day” by thanking staff for the extra hours they're putting in.

An analysis of official figures shows that 5.3 million workers put in an average of 7.2 hours of unpaid overtime per week last year, worth around £5,300 a year per person.

Whilst reducing the amount of unpaid overtime would not translate precisely into extra jobs, the TUC is concerned that persistent and excessive hours are holding back job creation.

Some employers are forcing staff to work extremely long hours that damage their health, when taking on extra employees would be far more productive and provide much needed jobs, says the TUC.

Workers in London (26.9 per cent) and the South East (25 per cent) are the most likely to work unpaid overtime. Workers in the West Midlands and the North East have experienced the sharpest rise in the likelihood of doing so over the last year, according to the TUC analysis.

The number of people working extra hours for no pay has increased by more than a million since records began in 1992, when 4.2 million people regularly did unpaid overtime, to 5.3 million people in 2011.

The proportion of workers doing unpaid overtime has also increased slightly, from 19.7 per cent in 1992 to 21.1 per cent in 2011.

For more information, visit the Worksmart website