That’s according to the Trades Union Congress (TUC) which has announced that Friday February 24 will be the date of this year’s Work Your Proper Hours Day.
The TUC says the near two billion hours of unpaid overtime would be enough to create a million extra full-time jobs.
If workers who regularly put in unpaid overtime worked all their hours from the start of the year, the first day they would get paid would be Friday February 24, hence it being named Work Your Hour Proper Hours Day (WYPHD) by the unions.
Now in its eighth year, WYPHDis a light-hearted campaign that celebrates the unsung - and unpaid - extra hours that millions of workers put in to help their employers and which gives a huge boost to the UK economy.
The TUC will call on employers to mark Work Yours Proper Hours Day by thanking staff for the extra hours they’re putting in.
The TUC analysis of official figures shows 5.3 million workers put in an average of 7.2 hours of unpaid overtime per week last year, worth around £5,300 a year per person.
The TUC believes some employers are forcing staff to work extremely long hours that damage their health, when taking on extra employees would be far more productive and provide much needed jobs.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The heroic amount of extra unpaid hours put in by millions of workers make a vital - but often unsung - contribution to the UK economy.
“While many politicians and financial institutions have spectacularly failed to do their bit to help the UK economy, millions of hard-working staff clearly have and we hope employers congratulate them for their efforts on Work Your Proper Hours Day this year.
“But while many of the extra unpaid hours worked could easily be reduced by changing work practices and ending the UK’s culture of pointless presenteeism, a small number of employers are exploiting staff by regularly forcing them to do excessive amounts of extra work for no extra pay.
“This attitude is not only bad for workers’ health, it’s bad for the economy too as it reduces productivity and holds back job creation.
“No-one wants to see us to become a nation of clock-watchers. But a more sensible and grown up attitude to working time could cut out needless unpaid hours and help more people into work.”