One-third of German employees work a year in overtime 'without pay'

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One-third of German employees work a year in overtime 'without pay'
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A new survey has found a third of employees in Germany are working over a year unpaid during their careers.


Throughout their working lives, employees in Germany log an extra 9,655 hours of overtime - or the equivalent working time of 13 months - according to a new survey. For employees in leadership roles, that amount jumps to 15,390 hours.

The results come from the Hamburg-based Compensation Partner, which surveyed more than 215,000 employees in Germany.

The survey found that one-third of the employees are not compensated for the additional hours. They therefore work 13 months free of charge in their careers. 

As far as managers are concerned, a full 74 percent do not get any additional compensation. In total, they work for around 21 months throughout their career without pay.

The good news is that the number of overtime hours is decreasing, according to the app Work Time Monitor. 

A total of 54 percent of all employees in Germany work overtime - on average around three hours per week. On average, women work 2.2 and men 3.7 hours overtime per week. In 2009, the average number of overtime hours per week was still 6.5.

Less hours = better economy?

Tim Böger, Managing Director of Compensation Partner, told Spiegel Online that the decline was related to strong economic developments: 

"The tense situation of the financial crisis led to significantly more overtime in 2009 than today," he said. "Today we are experiencing an economic boom and work-life balance has been brought to the foreground, which tends to reduce the willingness to work overtime".

The Institute for Employment Research (IAB), which belongs to the Federal Employment Agency, also registered a decline in overtime hours. 

According to IAB labour market researcher Enzo Weber, however, the decline in overtime hours is actually related to “an economic slowdown since last year.”

In May, the European Court of Justice ruled that all overtime hours worked within the EU should be logged and paid. 

It's yet to be determined exactly how the ruling will be carried out in Germany. Every individual member state can decide how exactly the system will be implemented, including whether individual activities - such as answering emails at home - can be omitted if they can't be precisely measured.

The number of overtime hours in Germany in 2017 amounted to a whopping 2.1 billion, half of them unpaid, reports the government.

SEE ALSO: German workers should be paid for overtime: EU Court


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