Edinburgh Labour MSP says Scots workers are losing £1.9 billion in wages through unpaid overtime
Unpaid overtime totalled 130 million hours in a year
Scots have worked 130 million hours of unpaid overtime, amounting to a loss of £1.9 billion in wages in just a year, according to Edinburgh Southern Labour MSP Daniel Johnson.
The party's analysis of the 2021 Annual Population Survey has revealed that Scottish workers complete an average of 8.1 hours of unpaid overtime per week. And if each hour was paid at the average hourly pay rate, workers in Scotland would be entitled to almost £2 billion extra in wages.
The average hourly earnings for private sector employees in April 2022 was £13.49 per hour, while public sector workers received an average of £17.71. Some 80 million hours of unpaid overtime was in the private sector in 2021, while 50 million was from public sector workers. Unpaid overtime increased since 2020, when there were 100 million hours worked, and an average of 7.7 hours per week.
Mr Johnson, who is Labour's finance spokesman, said Scotland must ditch its reliance on unpaid overtime. He said: "Scotland's workers are the lifeblood of our economy - but these statistics plainly show that they are missing out on a fair day's pay. It is simply wrong that our economy is so reliant on unpaid overtime. With Scottish workers bearing the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis, it is clear that action needs to be taken to ensure they get the wages they are entitled to.
"The people of Scotland should be receiving the full fruits of their labour, not missing out on millions of pounds. It's time to put fair work at the heart of our economy and end this rough deal for Scotland's workers."
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "While employment law is reserved, we are clear that all employees must be paid fairly for the work they do. That is why the Scottish Government continues to support payment of, at least, the real living wage to build a more resilient economy, a more equal labour market, and foster inclusive growth.
"Scotland has the highest proportion of jobs in the UK paying at least the real living wage or more and proportionately there are five times more accredited living wage employers in Scotland than in the rest of the UK. Through our Fair Work First policy, the Scottish Government has consistently called for employers in all sectors to provide workers with a fair and equitable wage for the work they do along with safe and secure working environments. We also call for employers to promote diverse and inclusive workplace cultures where staff are engaged and have their voices heard.
"From 1 July 2023, all public sector grants will include a requirement to pay at least the real living wage to all employees, and provide appropriate channels for effective voice. We will publish updated Fair Work First guidance early in 2023 to support the adoption of this new requirement."