The number of people working paid overtime has fallen by almost half a million in the last year, making them the “hidden victims” of the recession, new research showed today.
The TUC said an analysis of official data revealed that just under four million people earned paid overtime this year, at an average of six-and-a-half hours a week, a fall of 12 minutes over 2008.
The average amount of weekly overtime worked out at almost £3,000 a year per employee, a total of £10bn, down by £1bn on last year, said the report.
The decline in paid overtime was partly caused by job losses and fewer opportunities to earn extra money, it was found.
Workers in manufacturing, transport and communication, industries that traditionally offered overtime, were hit by a fall in extra hours over the past year.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “These workers are the hidden victims of the recession.
“Job security remains the number one concern for workers across the country but the sharp drop in paid overtime shows that many people in work are also suffering financially.
“Even those that are still earning overtime are often no longer able to claim double pay.
“Lots of people rely on overtime pay to earn a decent living.
“As Christmas approaches, a lack of extra income will put family budgets under even greater strain.
“While many in the City look to their stocks and bonuses as a barometer of the health of the economy, having enough hours of work and overtime pay matter far more to millions of workers and their families.
“Falling unemployment, decent pay rises and the revival of overtime pay are the issues that ordinary workers will use to judge whether our economy has truly recovered.”