Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Unpaid overtime

The question

The TUC claims that professional engineers put in more than 6.5 hours of unpaid overtime every week, mounting up to £4,742 in lost wages annually.

What do you think?

That is easy to assess if you actually have contracted hours, but how many of our contracts contain woolly words along the lines of 'as necessitated by workload' or 'as locally agreed' where sensible Europeans would have clearly written '35 hours'?

Tony O'Donnell, 40, engineering manager, Warwickshire I recall the days when this sort of extra work used to be reflected in a Christmas bonus - a fair means of reward. Nowadays, this work is certainly not rewarded.

It happens because of the professional satisfaction of achieving the job. However, the extra hours should not destroy a realistic work-life balance. If you cannot get this right, change job.

After all, you are only here once.

Dudley Swain, 57, performance manager, Exeter Most civil engineers I work with do what's needed to get the job done without recourse to clock watching. From what I see most enjoy the contribution they are seen to be making to society.

We all need to strive for efficient working even if this means a few hours extra now and again.

Steve Whipp, 51, wastewater asset standards manager, Warrington The EU Working Time Directive be damned. The 'real' working week is a flexible affair, anything between about 40 and 65 hours depending on project needs.

Oddly, I have never found it necessary to work less than my contracted hours due to lack of work. Do I feel overworked?

Well, one gets bored if one isn't busy!

Simon Lawrence, 31, senior engineer, Cardiff It would certainly fit the situation here in Germany. I know that the 300 or so civil engineers where I work put in an average of five to 10 hours unpaid overtime a week (on top of a 39 hour working week), with some often going over 20 extra hours. It is not difficult to work out how generous we are to our employers.

Mike Paul, 52, senior engineer, Stuttgart, Germany I suspect the TUC is just rabblerousing. I do not believe anyone is naive enough to expect to spend only 35 hours per week at work these days, although my sympathy does extend to the site engineers working 55 hours plus as I did at the start of my career.

Greg Riddle, 32, site agent, Linlithgow Civil engineers work unpaid overtime because they enjoy their work and have professional pride in their schemes.

Ruth Goudie, 46, senior traffic engineer, Canterbury I doubt that civil engineers are alone in working longer hours than contracted. It probably shows that we enjoy our jobs;

so we should be thankful for that and not regard it as another symptom of an under-rewarded profession - even if we are!

Peter Borrows, 62, Thames Estuary strategy manager, Reading I dislike 'clock-watching' from the perspective of the employer or the employee. If you work the hours required to do the job well and feel suitably paid, everyone is happy. If not, both parties need to get together and agree a solution.

Brian Rousell, 33, project manager, Sussex

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.