UK employees are working more than five weeks for free every year, a survey has revealed.

The survey by independent job site CV-Library suggested that the average British worker is working 26.5 days for free each year – and should earn an extra £3,352 for those days. 

The survey of more than 16,000 workers revealed that the average UK professional contracted to work 7.5 hours a day is actually working 8 hours 16 minutes daily.

Based on the average UK salary of £32,938 per year, the data suggests workers are being short-changed by around £3,352 each year.

It’s extremely concerning to see that full-time workers are forced to pick up the slack with no reward

Lee Biggins, founder & managing director, CV-Library
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The research also revealed how the number of average hours worked varies across the UK and how much people in different parts of the country are working for free.

Those worst off were in Scotland, where the average day worked was 8 hours 44 minutes, adding up to 42 days, 5 hours and 38 minutes for free and meaning they’re underpaid by £5,239.

Workers in the South West worked an average of 8 hours and 28 minutes each day, adding up to 33 days, 3 hours and 45 minutes for free. This meant they were underpaid by £3,963. 

And people in the East Midlands were working less for free, with an average of 8 hours and 22 minutes each day pulling the number of days they worked for free down to 30. This meant they were underpaid by £3,557 in total.

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, said wages may have risen year-on-year in the first quarter of the year, but they had actually declined by 0.9% when compared with the previous quarter.

The research found that workers in Scotland are facing worryingly long days. Image by f11photo/

He said the introduction of the national living wage and concerns over the EU referendum meant wages were expected to decline even further in the second quarter of the year.

"With many UK businesses facing low productivity as the nation struggles with skills shortages and economic uncertainty, it’s extremely concerning to see that full-time workers are forced to pick up the slack with no reward.

“The government needs to work with businesses to tackle the issues head-on; especially for regions like Scotland where workers are facing worryingly long work days.”

The research also found that 14.2% of full-time employees are working more than 10 hours a day –  exceeding the 48 hour per week limit currently imposed by EU employment laws.

And an exit from the EU could make the situation worse, Mr Biggins warned. “There are so many questions still unanswered regarding the EU referendum, and for UK workers many of these questions are surrounding the current EU employment laws.

“It’s clear that professionals in Britain are already working close to, if not more than, they legally should on a full-time contact, and a Brexit could worsen the situation.

“If we leave the EU and the security blanket of a maximum 48 hour week is removed then UK workers could face even longer working days.”