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In the UK, there is no legal requirement for employers to pay for overtime, but they can choose to do so. However, if an employee's average pay for the total hours they work falls below the National Minimum Wage, then the employer is breaking the law.

According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), an estimated 3.5 million people in the UK did unpaid overtime in 2022, putting in an average of 7.4 unpaid hours each week. This is equivalent to £26 billion worth of free labour for employers.

The TUC has said that unpaid overtime is a "serious problem" that is having a negative impact on workers' health and well-being. They have called on employers to stop relying on unpaid overtime and to pay their workers for all the hours they work.

Here are some of the occupations where unpaid overtime is most common in the UK:
  • Teaching
  • Health and social care
  • Public administration
  • Retail
  • Hospitality
If you are an employee who is working unpaid overtime, you have a number of rights. You can:
  • Ask your employer to pay you for the overtime you have worked.
  • Raise a grievance with your employer.
  • Contact the TUC or another trade union for advice.
You can also find more information about your rights on the government website:

View more of our

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