SEVEN out of 10 British tradespeople work extra unpaid hours each week – gifting their employers about £4.8bn in unpaid overtime every year.
Figures from Direct Line for Business also showed that just one in four workers claim they don’t work any unpaid overtime in a typical week.
On average, each trades person completes 5.29 hours of unpaid work a week, totalling 275 hours a year and equivalent to about £1,702 in wages based on the minimum wage.
The research also showed that more than one in ten of the UK’s 2.8m tradespeople – some 308,000 people – claim to complete more than 10 hours of unpaid work each week or 520 hours a year.
Tradespeople who have been in the job the longest are more likely to work an extended, unpaid week.
On average, tradespeople who have worked for up to 10 years complete an average of 34 hours per week, while those who have been in the industry for more than a decade typically work 41.8 hours per week.
Tradespeople in the UK work on average 40 hours a week with nearly half – 48% – completing more than 40 hours a week. The current average for the UK’s overall workforce is 37 hours a week.
Jazz Gakhal, head of Direct Line for Business, said: “Tradespeople are the unsung heroes leading the way in nursing our economy back to health.
“The research shows that, despite the sometimes negative publicity that surrounds the work ethic of tradespeople, they are doing more than their fair share and setting the right example for the rest of the UK’s workforce.
“Next time a builder or plumber takes a tea break, be conscious that you are probably getting free hours spent working on your home improvements or repairs.”
Said Mr Gakhal: “Given these extra accumulated working hours, it is crucial that tradespeople have the right insurance cover for their business to ensure that all these extra hours worked are adequately compensated in the event of an accident.”