More than one in four employees in the UK works longer than 48 hours each week. According to a study published today by the International Labour Organisation, more of the UK's workforce put in "excessive hours" than in any other developed country. The ILO estimates that 22 per cent of workers around the world – or over 600 …
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Simple solution. Rather than legislate for the number of hours someone can work, instead legislate that employers must pay employees for all the time the work. No more unpaid overtime. Also make it mandatory time and a half during weekdays and double tie at weekends. Once the bean counters start seeing the huge overtime bill then maybe the'll see that having enough people to do the work is actually a good idea.
We are not work-a-holics, we work long hours to actually earn enough money to live. The salaries in general up here in Stoke are apauling 25% less than most places else in the UK, house prices have risen to stupid amounts that now you can't get a job here that pays enough to even buy your own house, unlesws you are in a highly skilled highly qualified position.
Then again in london salaries are a lot more but so is cost of living, all these salary surveys saying the average uk salary is like something £35k want to do a survey up here and ask some real people.
Hours aren't everything
There is, of course, an enormous difference between 'hours worked' and 'work produced'. In my experience (which covers most of Europe and a fair bit of the rest of the world), 90% of people who claim to work 10-hour days consistently are producing no more than the bulk of the staff working 'normal' hours.
I can definitely confirm that my hard-working UK colleagues are no more productive than their colleagues in Germany, Denmark, Italy etc.
What was that phrase again? Oh yes:
"Work smarter, not harder"
"Working Time Regulations: Calling Time on Working Time, claimed that three-quarters of long-hours workers do so out of choice."
No, I think hardly anyone "chooses" to work such long hours, they just feel they have to. More companies than ever are getting rid of overtime pay now also, so it's not really as if people are doing it for the money now. It's a case of feeling that if they don't do these hours they'll get sacked, it's all very well saying there's no negative comeback allowed if you opt out of the maximum working hour agreement, but we all know that for example, when it comes to promotion time, someone that does opt-out is going to be disadvantaged against someone that doesn't, even if no one officially says so.
There is never any need for someone to work more than 48hrs, all that suggests is that a company is understaffed, that is, trying to do the job on the cheap by pushing the burden of their lack of will to invest in more staff onto the existing workers.
A couple of points
The situation is slightly worse than that since I'm quite sure that Israel officially has a six day week with Saturday as their only day off. That possibly means that we exceed their hours in fewer days.
Long hours are often worked in the UK because of an irritating culture that stops you from wanting to be the first one to leave at 6:30pm, even if you started at 8am, had a half hour for lunch and promised to meet your wife for dinner at 7pm. It's going to be difficult to break that down.
Fear does amazing things...
The fear of having your job outsourced and being on the dole is an amazing motification to work harder/longer.
Welcome to the global economy where your cost of living makes the option of shipping your job elsewhere a potential viable option.
Of course there's the alternative. You really love your job and you don't mind putting in those extra hours. Maybe 5% of the workforce falls in to that category.
You be the judge.
I hardly think so
My English buddy has repeatedly over the years talked about how British professionals get 4 weeks or more standard vacation which doesn't include Bank and Stat holidays. Try living in the real world with 15 days vacation (or less) and 10 Stats. That's it.
Besides 48 hour weeks of maybe 6-8 hour productive days still only adds up to 40 hours at best.
Also considering the AVERAGE commute time for a Brit to get to work is a lot less than those of us in places in Canada and the US who travel an hour or more one way: that's 2+ hours a day for those who are mathematically challenged.
I'm just not feeling any sympathy.
At least the non-professional generally gets paid (possibly with overtime) for the extra hours they work.