Libby McCaughey
11 months ago by Libby McCaughey

UK in ‘overtime epidemic'

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An increasing number of Britons are clocking up 'unpaid labour' when working from home by spending longer at their desks and being on call after hours, which is eroding mental health.

A new report reveals remote work forced upon many Britons by the pandemic has spawned an “epidemic of hidden overtime” which has particularly affected women’s mental health.

The study from Autonomy found a growing issue of unpaid labour, and that women are 43% more likely to have increased their hours beyond a standard working week than men.

It also proposes draft legislation to create a “right to disconnect”, based on French law, with two amendments to the Employment Rights Act 1996 which prohibits employers from expecting staff to answer calls or read emails outside of agreed work hours.

The report said that a previous study by Autonomy, Compass, and the Four-Day Weekly Campaign that at all stages of the crisis negative mental health impacts have been felt disproportionately by women.

The study found that women are 43% more likely to have increased their hours beyond a standard workweek than men, and for those with children, this was even more clearly associated with distress. mental.

Will Stronge, Director of Research at Autonomy, said the Covid pandemic has “accelerated the need to create much clearer boundaries between work and personal life.”

Angela Rayner, the Deputy Labor leader who holds a shadow cabinet dossier on the future of work, said: “Along with the right to flexible work, there has to be the right to disconnect. It is only right that workers can set healthy limits, stop, and log off from work outside of working hours.

 “In the modern workplace, we cannot be in a place where workers are expected to compromise their families, responsibilities or leisure time to meet employers’ expectations. It is not a sustainable way to run an economy. Many good companies want this kind of protection to be guaranteed to workers at all levels.

“Work will guarantee every worker the right to flexible work and the right to switch off. We need a new deal for workers and Labor will make it happen.  

The idea of ​​a right to disconnect was the subject of a campaign by Prospect, the union, which found earlier this year that 59% of all workers were in favour of introducing a right disconnection when 17% were against it. He revealed that among new remote workers, 66% were for and 14% against.

Andrew Pakes, Research Director at Prospect, said: ‘Other countries have already acted to address this issue by instituting a right to disconnect for workers, and we are calling on the UK government to take action now so that we are not left behind.  

The government has not supported the right to go offline, but it has a flexible task force looking at work-from-home issues that have arisen during the pandemic.

Information sourced from The Guardian