More hours of unpaid overtime in corona time, partly out of fear of job loss

Worldwide, there is an average of two hours more overtime per week since the start of the corona crisis. In the Netherlands, almost two out of three workers do unpaid overtime every week, in a quarter it is even 6 to 10 hours a week. That appears from People at Work 2021: a global workforce view, a survey by payroll service provider ADP of more than 32,000 employees in 17 countries.

In 2018, one in five employees in the Netherlands worked overtime, in the corona crisis that rose to one in four. According to ADP, working from home and hybrid working, partly at home and partly at the workplace, is responsible for more and longer overtime.

“The corona crisis and massive home working seem to lower the threshold for overtime,” says director Martijn Brand. “Work and private life are more intertwined and the time that you would otherwise have spent traveling to and from the office can now be used to continue working.” In addition, economic uncertainty can also cause employees to feel pressure to work more hours.

Fear of job loss

Internationally, employees who work from home say that they work more overtime (average 9.4 hours) than colleagues who work in the office or on the shop floor (average 8.7 hours). Employees who work partly at home and partly in the workplace even work more often and more overtime, on average almost 10 hours of overtime.

More than one in three employees worldwide say they work extra hours unpaid for fear of job loss; sometimes people even work on a day off. “Employees hope in this way to show that they are of extra added value for the employer,” says Brand. “In the long run, this can create a worrying situation in which too much is required of employees, with the risk of staff being overworked and reduced labor productivity.”

Younger workers also work more overtime than older workers, with young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 the most. Only 15 percent of young adults never work overtime, nearly half of those over 55 years of age. The most overtime is in essential sectors such as healthcare, IT and telecom. It is striking that full-timers are more likely to work overtime on a weekly basis than part-timers.


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