The proportion of employees in their late 50s and early 60s working unpaid overtime has increased sharply in the last decade – despite a fall in unpaid hours for the rest of the workforce – according to a new TUC analysis to mark Work Your Proper Hours Day.

If workers who regularly put in unpaid overtime worked all their hours from the start of the year, the first day they would get paid would have been Friday 24 February, which the TUC has named Work Your Hour Proper Hours Day (WYPHD).

The TUC analysis of official government figures shows that the proportion of workers in their early 20s doing unpaid overtime has fallen by 36 per cent in the last decade, while the likelihood of workers in their early 60s doing unpaid overtime has increased by 45 per cent.

A quarter of a million more workers in their late 50s and early 60s did unpaid overtime in 2011 than in 2001. Fears about a loss of income after retirement mean that more people are working past their traditional retirement age. This is leading more older workers to do unpaid overtime, says the TUC.

Workers in their late 30s are still the most likely to work unpaid overtime, with over one in four employees in this age bracket (26.6 per cent) regularly putting in extra hours for free.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:

“Over the last decade, more people are working well into their 60s – and many of them are putting in extra unpaid hours too.

“A lot of older workers are keen to reduce their hours as they approach retirement, but many of them have to top up their contracted hours with extra working time for free.

“Around one in five workers regularly do unpaid overtime but it’s becoming the norm in far too many workplaces. Whilst most people have no objection to putting in some extra hours to help their employer through a busy period, an entrenched long hours culture causes stress, health problems and lower morale.”