Employees overworked and underpaid?

A total of eight out of ten employees regularly work beyond their contracted hours without pay, according to a survey of 1,083 workers by employment law firm Peninsula BusinessWise.

The poll found that the average employee works seven hours of unpaid overtime every month and two per cent of employees find themselves working in excess of ten hours’ overtime per month without pay.

Peter Done, managing director of Peninsula, says: ‘The survey highlights the growing problem and office culture of over-working, which is present in UK society. Employees are simply too busy and have too much on to give themselves time away from the office and as such often find it difficult to relax through worry and stress.’

The number of hours an employee can work during the week is governed by the Working Time Regulations. However, there are exemptions if a member of staff wishes to work over his or her relevant limits, and an opt-out agreement can be signed enabling them to do so.

‘The benefits that employers gain by giving their staff time off are invaluable,’ claims Done. ‘Not only do workers return from their breaks feeling refreshed and relaxed, but also their motivation is likely to be tremendously boosted by their time away from work. As all managers know, a highly motivated and happy employee is an employee who works harder and puts more effort in. Therefore the benefits are reaped by the employer through the increased levels of productivity, and consequently profits.’

Read our guide with tips on retaining staff.

Adam Wayland

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

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