Work Your Proper Hours Day: long hours and the recession
It’s Work Your Proper Hours Day today. We work it out from ONS’ ASHE and LFS surveys as the day when the average person who works unpaid overtime stops working for free and starts earning for themselves.
One of the features of the recession has been people moving to shorter hours or taking part-time work in order to avoid the dole queue. This has also led to a fall in the number of people putting in extra hours at work. But there has also been a surprise increase in people doing ‘extreme’ unpaid overtime, with nearly 900,000 workers giving away an average of 18 hours of free work a week last year.
There’s no direct link between excess overtime and underemployment, but those people who are struggling to find enough or indeed any hours to work must be wondering why some workers are doing so much for free.
Staff are understandably doing all they can to help their company recover from the recession – and bosses should use today thank them for going that extra mile in difficult times. But working time still needs to be properly managed. A long hours culture is bad for workers’ health and family life, and bad for an organisation’s productivity – whether the hours are paid or not.