Tradespeople going the extra mile

Seven in ten British tradespeople work extra unpaid hours each week, equating to around £4.8 billion in unpaid overtime every year, research finds.

Just one in four (26 per cent) workers claim they don’t work any unpaid overtime in a typical week, according to a study by Direct Line for Business.

On average, each tradesperson completes 5.29 hours of unpaid work a week, totalling 275 hours a year and equivalent to around £1,702 in wages (based on the minimum wage).

The research also shows that more than one in ten (11 per cent) of the UK’s 2.8 million tradesperson workforce, or 308,000 people, claim to complete more than ten hours of unpaid work each week (or 520 hours a year).

Tradespeople who have been in the job the longest are more likely to work an extended, unpaid week. On average, tradespeople who have worked for up to ten years complete an average of 34.0 hours per week, while those who have been in the industry for more than a decade typically work 41.8 hours per week.

Tradespeople in the UK work on average 40 hours a week with nearly half (48 per cent) completing 40 hours or more a week. The current average for the UK’s overall workforce is 37 hours a week.

Jazz Gakhal, head of Direct Line for Business says, ‘Tradespeople are the unsung heroes leading the way in nursing our economy back to health. The research shows that, despite the sometimes negative publicity that surrounds the work ethic of tradespeople, they are doing more than their fair share and setting the right example for the rest of the UK’s workforce.

‘Next time a builder or plumber takes a tea break, be conscious that you are probably getting free hours spent working on your home improvements or repairs.’

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