Figures released by the official government analyst shows that 5.26 million people welcomed overtime last year without being paid for it, which helped to boost the UK economy by £28.9 billion.
Commenting on the figures, Trades Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber said they "shine a light" on the valuable but too often unrewarded extra hours that UK workers put in every week.
He pointed out that, while average hours are falling across the economy, both as a result of the recession and changes in working practices, UK staff are still doing the third longest shifts in Europe.
"Employers should do more to recognise the unpaid overtime that their staff do, which contributes £29bn to the UK economy every year. Smarter working practises and an end to pointless presenteeism would help make staff more productive and get a better work-life balance," Mr Barber added.
A recent survey by Graduate Propects found that the UK's graduates are doing significant amounts of overtime as they aim to get ahead in the jobs market.
The poll revealed that one in seven UK graduates are working more than 50 hours a week – a figure which rises to 18 per cent for those working in London.
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Posted by John Oak and Wayne Bly
Source: The Sales Director News