Friday 14 December 2018
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Jersey’s overtime epidemic revealed

Jersey’s overtime epidemic revealed

Friday 07 December 2018

Jersey’s overtime epidemic revealed


An overtime epidemic is sweeping the island, with the average employee estimated to be working nearly one month ‘for free’ every year.

According to new figures, senior managers are working the most extra time, taking on an additional eight hours on top of their average contracted time of 37 hours per week.

Middle or junior managers were the second hardest hit, reportedly averaging 40 hours per week – four more than their contracted 36.

Those in “technical or craft” occupations were the only group whose contracted hours matched their actual hours worked, while those in “clerical or intermediate” roles only worked one additional hour per week. 

The findings came in Statistics Jersey’s annual Opinions and Lifestyle Survey Report, which was published yesterday. It involved surveying 1,000 islanders from a sample statisticians say they are confident represents the wider Jersey population.

It showed that the “average” overtime – in line with professional level and manual or service occupation workers – was three hours weekly. 

It means that average Jersey workers without overtime arrangements in their jobs could technically be losing hundreds – if not thousands – of pounds annually, with three hours overtime per week equating to 19.5 working days (nearly one month) going unpaid over the course of a year. 

Many jobs don’t have an overtime pay system in place, while others operate on specific pay schemes that only allow employees to claim a limited amount back.

clockstime.jpg

Pictured: Some workplaces don't pay overtime - research shows that paid overtime is becoming increasingly rare.

The States of Jersey adopts the ‘flexitime’ regime, which means that a certain amount of additional time worked in each month – usually up to two days – can be carried forward to the next month. The remainder of any time worked is “written off” with no option of payment. 

A recent response to a request under the Freedom of Information law showed that 29,541.31 hours were written off across 2017 and the first two quarters of 2018.

The data, which analysed each States Department, as well as Jersey Property Holdings and Trading Standards, showed a dramatic increase in the first two quarters of this year compared to 2017. 

Hours written off totalled 11,298 between January and June this year, over 2,000 more than the same period in 2017.

The head of the island’s largest civil service union previously told Express that this level of overtime was symptomatic of the extreme “goodwill” of civil servants that keeps the island running

Feelings that too much of the extra work they are doing is going unpaid has led to feelings of not being valued by the States, he added, and said that, in part, this had stimulated the ultimate decision to begin working ‘to rule’.

The situation is perhaps less bleak than in the UK, however.

UK statistics showed that in 2017 workers were putting in 7.4hours in extra time per week. Overall, it equated to £31.2billion of free labour for employers across the year.

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Posted by Peter Richardson on
Having worked 42 years in the finance industry I can certainly say that my unpaid extra hours between 1985 and 2015 would amount to about 4.5 years of in working days spent in the office for free. I always referred to my hourly rate per annum as including all time worked in the office which put me, as a manager, on the same salary as a junior administrator, who was usually paid overtime.
As a male employee you had to choose between your job or your family and that's tough. In those days if you did suffer burn out your doctor would just give you prozac and sent you straight back to work. If you told your boss you were suffering and taking prozac you soon found yourself on the slippery pole to a bin bag and cheque on your desk. Can't stand the heat then clear off! Later you would find out they had employed two people to do your old job. Ah those were the days!!!
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