Public sector workers do £11bn of unpaid overtime every year

A quarter of public sector staff do on average eight hours of unpaid work a week, shocking new GMB report reveals.

Nearly 2 million public sector workers are doing £11bn worth of unpaid overtime every year, the GMB union revealed today.

A quarter of public sector staff do on average eight hours of unpaid work a week, analysis of official figures showed, whilst at least one in twenty worked at least 15 extra, unpaid, hours a week.

Midwives and social workers are doing the most unpaid overtime, the report showed, with 37.5 per cent of midwives and 37 per cent of social workers putting in extra hours.

If public sector workers were paid for these hours, they would be owed an extra £6,000 on average – equivalent to a 24 per cent pay rise – the report said.

“Ministers think they can push staff indefinitely, but low pay, unmanageable workloads and stress are pushing many of our members to the limit.”

Said Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary for Public Services.

“Public sector workers are the backbone of our society – working above and beyond their contracted hours because they are committed to jobs they love”, Azam added.

Overall, public sector workers are twice as likely to work unpaid overtime than their private sector counterparts.

The GMB warned that the levels of extra hours worked were ‘dangerous’.

The rise in unpaid overtime follows cuts of 412,000 public sector jobs since 2010 and an increased demand for public services.

“Philip Hammond says that public sector workers are ‘overpaid’ but these shocking new figures show just how out of touch he is,” said Azam.

“The reality is that public services are held together by the devotion of overworked and underappreciated employees, who are effectively handing the Government £11 billion worth of their labour for free.”

Azam added.

“Enough is enough – it’s time to tackle ever rising workloads and give our public sector workers the real pay rises they desperately need and deserve.”


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