IT workers put in more unpaid overtime than almost any other profession, according to the TUC (Trades Union Congress). The organisation is calling on managers to recognise the extra time their staff puts in, and has declared Friday 25 February "Work your proper hours day".
IT managers work an average of nine hours and 12 minutes per week on top of their official, contracted hours, a new league table reveals. The TUC calculated that if managers did all this unpaid overtime at the start of the year, they wouldn't start to be paid until 8 March. If they were paid for the extra hours, their salaries would increase by more than £10,000.
IT workers don't fare much better, clocking up an average of six hours and six minutes unpaid overtime each week, making 17 February their first paid working day. (Our congratualtions to all of you who started getting paid last week.) All these donated hours are worth more than £5,000 to their employers.
Tech companies also have the greatest proportion of staff working overtime for free. An average of 40 per cent of the workforce, including staff from all departments, puts in extra hours.
The news should come as some consolation to managers worried that IT staff spend too much time sending personal emails.
Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, argues that many companies would collapse without the extra time put in by staff. Although most people are happy to put in the time when it is needed, in emergencies, or in the run up to a deadline, it can easily get taken for granted, and be built into the expected working week, he warned.
"Work Your Proper Hours Day is a once a year opportunity for bosses to say thank you to their staff for their extra work, and for employees to remind themselves just how much extra time they would have if they did go home on time every day," he said.
Tech staff are not alone in their dedication to duty: teachers work more than 11 hours unpaid overtime each week, and those in public service roles, like the armed forces, fire brigade or ambulance staff, put almost ten extra hours each week. ®