Working Long Hours: a Review of the Evidence

Volume 1 - Main Report

Kodz J, Davis S, Lain D, Strebler M, Rick J, Bates P, Cummings J, Meager N | Employment Relations Research Series ERRS16 | Department of Trade and Industry | Oct 2003

Long hours working is more common in the UK than most other countries, but quite similar to the US, Australia and Japan. After a period of long-term decline, the proportion of employees working over 48 hours a week rose through most of the 1990s (though by the early 2000s it had started to decline again).

Long hours working is mainly accounted for by overtime, and is more common amongst men, managers, professionals, and operative and assembly workers. Manual workers usually get paid for overtime, while managerial and professional employees do not. Manual workers see the main benefit of long hours working in terms of increased earnings, while managerial and professional workers see it in terms of improved promotion prospects and greater job security. Excessive long hours working is associated with (though not proved to cause) lower productivity, poor work performance, health problems and low employee motivation.

The main report is available to download from the link below, while the case studies and an appendix can be downloaded here.

Link pointerReport summary