In the past year, one in ten employees worked overtime, but only a fifth of those received ‘time and a half’ or more, the traditional remuneration for working additional hours outside of what’s specified in the employment contract.
Overtime is an issue that’s not widely debated in the world of work. Senior policy analyst at the think tank, Conor D’Arcy, said ‘Paid overtime is a massive workplace issue for millions of workers, and yet it enjoys a fraction of the attention given to more niche areas like the gig economy’. He went on to comment that this could be because it’s an issue that’s more prevalent outside the capital (just 7% of employees in London work paid overtime), and is more relevant in traditional industries such as agriculture and manufacturing.
The research raises some important questions about what’s expected of workers in the modern world of work, the pressures that are placed on individuals by their employers, and the way in which more traditional benefits are being slowly phased out.
Resolution Foundation welcomed the proposals in the Taylor Review for a new minimum wage premium to be introduced for non-guaranteed working hours, and recommends that the government considers learning from our overseas counterparts when it comes to creating more robust policies and legislation for overtime workers. Spain, for example, legislates for maximum working hours, and New York has taken steps to minimise ‘surprise scheduling’.
Ultimately, the published report hoped for the introduction of an overtime premium, covering a wide range of earners – not just those receiving minimum wage. For many, it would be a welcome increase in earnings, though it may inevitably result in employers reconsidering how they distribute any extra work.
If you’ve been in business a while, you’ll know that changes like the ones proposed can take a long time to trickle down and become a reality, and that’s even if they’re accepted at all. Still though, the conversation provides a valuable opportunity to think about how you reward your staff for working extra hours, and whether your approach is in the best interests of both your business and your employees.
Has the way that you offer overtime changed in recent years? And how do you see your approach changing if the proposals are written into legislation?