The Archive

Unpaid overtime. How much am I subsidising my boss?

Sometime during the last couple of weeks I caught the end of an item on the radio which had covered the widening gap between paid and worked hours. In 2011 the UK Office of National Statistics published information showing that managers and senior officials worked an average of 7.6 hours per week more than they were paid for. It was more than any other group. The radio article said this gap was increasing. It made me think: how much am I subsidising my boss?

I started my “current” management job in 1999. When I say current, the nature of my job and the scope of my responsibilities has increased significantly. After serval reorganisations the business unit I originally worked for is only a small part of what I now cover. I haven’t had any promotions or any pay increases other than “cost of living/merit” but apart from during the height of the credit crunch when pay was frozen I have always faired reasonably well on that score.

The radio item struck a chord. I now work between 8 and 10 hours a week unpaid overtime. With each reorganisation my workload has increased and recently redundancies and resignations have added to the strain. I am merely one example of the many individual workers the world over incurring personal costs for the benefit of business owners. Employers may argue it is necessary to remain competitive and viable. Others may say it is to maintain shareholder value and hence the salaries and bonuses of the senior directors. Here I make no comment except to wonder about my complicity in maintaining high levels of unemployment. This is a blog about my income now relative to 1999 not a blog about the morals of business leaders or the consequences of unpaid overtime on unemployment.

With the help of the historic inflation calculator I worked out the changes in my real gross income. If you assume I worked only the hours for which I was and still am paid then, ignoring the increase in my responsibilities, I would be in a better position now than in 1999. According to the inflation calculator my current gross salary is almost 108% of where it needs to be to account for inflation. However if you consider that in 1999 I worked about 2 hours a week extra my gross income per hour actually worked (taking an average of 8.5 hrs unpaid extra per week) is now only 92.7% of the 1999 amount adjusted for inflation.

Food for thought.

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