Trades Union Congress


Record amount of unpaid overtime recorded last year

More than five million UK employees worked unpaid overtime last year – the highest amount since 2001, according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC). TUC research revealed that the total value of unpaid labour in the UK in 2008 was £26.9 billion – equivalent to an average of approximately seven hours per employee. According to TUC secretary Brendan Barber, while some staff will inevitably be working longer hours to protect themselves against the risk of redundancy, or to help keep their employer in business, employers should be wary of the potentially harmful side–effects of working long hours. “Long hours are bad for people’s health, and employers should never forget that each extra hour worked makes people less productive once they are over a sensible wo... »

Business Groups Welcome Continued 48-Hour Week Opt-Out

Small-business groups have welcomed a ruling by the EU Employment Council to retain UK employers’ right to ask staff to work more than 48 hours a week, writes Tom Whitney Under the EU’s working time directive, employees are restricted to a maximum working week of 48 hours. However, an opt-out clause allows the UK to permit employees to work a longer week. The rules do not oblige employers to offer overtime or require staff to work it. The EU Employment Council ruling retains the UK’s 48-hour week opt-out, but restricts employees to working a 60 hour maximum working week, averaged out over three months so they can work longer hours in busy periods. This is a reduction from the current cap of 78 hours per week. Under the new rules, employers will not be able to ask workers ... »