New research from Direct Line for Business has suggested that more than five hours of unpaid work is completed by British tradespeople every week.

The study found that seven in ten British tradespeople work extra unpaid hours each week, which it says equates to around £4.8bn in unpaid overtime every year.

According to the findings, just 26% of workers claim they do not work any unpaid overtime in a typical week and on average, each tradesperson completes 5.29 hours of unpaid work a week, totalling 275 hours a year and equivalent to around £1,702 in wages (based on the minimum wage).

In addition, the research also showed that 11% of the UK’s tradesperson workforce claim to complete over ten hours of unpaid work each week (or 520 hours a year).

Tradespeople who have been in the job the longest are more likely to work an extended, unpaid week according to the research. On average, tradespeople who have worked for up to ten years complete an average of 34.0 hours per week, while those who have been in the industry for more than a decade usually works 41.8 hours per week, it said.

Commenting on the results, Jazz Gakhal, Head of Direct Line for Business, said:

“The research shows that, despite the sometimes negative publicity that surrounds the work ethic of tradespeople, they are doing more than their fair share and setting the right example for the rest of the UK’s workforce.  Next time a builder or plumber takes a tea break, be conscious that you are probably getting free hours spent working on your home improvements or repairs.”

Gakhal added:

“Given these extra accumulated working hours, it is crucial that tradespeople have the right insurance cover for their business to ensure that all these extra hours worked are adequately compensated in the event of an accident.”