According to an analysis of official statistics by the TUC, more than five million people worked an average of 7.7 hours per week in unpaid overtime in 2015, adding up to £6,114 a year each if they had been paid the average wage for those hours.

The TUC study also revealed that men work 1.1 billion unpaid overtime hours a year, compared to 0.9 billion hours for women. Around one in five men (19.2 per cent) work unpaid overtime, averaging 8.5 hours per week. A similar percentage of women (19.5 per cent) also work a lot of unpaid hours. Despite the fact that many women work part-time the average for those undertaking unpaid overtime is still 7.1 hours a week.

People aged 40 to 44 are most likely to do unpaid overtime, with more than one in four (26.9 per cent) in this age group putting in unpaid hours compared to an average of one in five (19.4 per cent) for all UK workers.

Public sector workers contributed £10.8 billion of unpaid overtime last year. Although they only make up a quarter (25.7 per cent) of total employees, they produce a third (33.6 per cent) of all unpaid overtime.

Teachers and education professionals do more unpaid overtime than any other group, with more than half of them working an average of 11.9 hours unpaid every week; followed by financial institution managers (11.2 hours), production managers (10.3 hours), functional managers such as financial, marketing, personnel managers (10.1 hours), and managers in health and care services (9.9 hours).

Unpaid overtime workers in London and the West Midlands put in the most free hours, clocking up 8.2 hours a week (compared to the national average of 7.7 hours). They are followed by staff in the North West and Wales who put in 7.9 hours unpaid overtime a week, and those in the East Midlands who spend 7.8 hours a week working for free.

Gerard Airey of Thompsons Solicitors commented: “the TUC’s figures provide a fascinating insight into overtime and how much is worked for free. These statistic suggest that more than five million people work a day per week free of charge. It’s important that employees are aware of the hours they are working and that goodwill overtime worked isn’t taken advantage of to the extent that this level of overtime is expected for free.

“This level of overtime unpaid suggests that work can’t be completed in normal working hours and that case should be made for either more employees to be employed to cover work, or overtime paid to reward those who carry it out.”

For more details of the study, go to: