Britons collectively worked two billion hours of unpaid overtime over the past 12 months, according to research published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Cited by People Management, the figures showed that this work earned the economy an extra £29.2 billion; productivity which is the equivalent of one million extra people working a full-time job.
The research showed regional variations, with those doing jobs in London or the South East more likely to work overtime without being paid for it. Northern Irish and Welsh workers were least likely, however; with the South West sitting somewhere in the middle.
A spokesperson for the TUC, general secretary Brendan Barber, explained further what the results mean. He stated: “The heroic amount of extra unpaid hours put in by millions of workers make a vital – but often unsung – contribution to the UK economy.
“This attitude is not only bad for workers’ health, it’s bad for the economy too as it reduces productivity and holds back job creation,” he added, Huffington Post revealed. “A more sensible and grown up attitude to working time could cut out needless unpaid hours and help more people into work.”
Barber also argued that if the government put more effort into changing typical working practice, as well as “ending the UK’s culture of pointless presenteeism”, workers could find themselves better off.
The TUC’s news comes after a different study recently found that workers throughout the UK are some of the hardest-working in Europe, with only Greek and Austrian employees working longer hours.