Unpaid overtime

Unpaid overtime

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More and more employers report that their people are clocking up increasing amounts of unpaid overtime.

Pressure on organisations to increase productivity means that existing teams are being asked to do more work with the same number of heads. If not managed carefully, this has the potential to cause workplace stress and employee burnout, therefore costing a lot more in the long run.

There could be a very good business case for adding permanent headcount or using a temporary staffing solution instead. Employers need to keep monitoring not just overtime but absenteeism and attrition rates so they know what all that overtime is really costing.

Employers are looking for maximum productivity from their existing workforce. The fact that so much of the overtime is unpaid creates the potential for issues around employee engagement and rising absenteeism due to illness or stress.

We recommend that employers take a number of steps to help manage employee engagement during sustained periods of increased overtime.

These include:

  • Actively monitoring the amount of overtime being performed and by which team members as well as absenteeism and general employee wellbeing
  • Remaining open to adding permanent headcount as a way of increasing productivity and reducing the risk of existing employees leaving
  • Using temporary staff to relieve pressure on overtime hot spots
  • Actively encouraging managers to use regular feedback, paid rewards and unpaid rewards to recognise those employees putting in the extra time
  • Monitoring business activity so staff can be given time off in lieu where possible


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