NEW DELHI: The amount of unpaid overtime that workers around the world are doing has soared in the past year and in India, employees are giving away more than 11 hours per week for free on average to their employers, according to a report.
According to a new study by the ADP Research Institute titled 'People at Work 2021: A Global Workforce View', the average amount of "free time" worked has increased by almost two hours per person per week since COVID-19 hit.
The "free time" worked can range from working over breaks and starting early or staying late, to regularly putting in extra work for no additional pay.
Globally, the average amount of free overtime being worked each week is now 9.2 hours per person up from 7.3 hours pre-pandemic, according to the findings of the survey of more than 32,000 workers in 17 countries.
In India, workers believe that they work an extra 11.1 hours per week for free.
More than 82 per cent of the respondents surveyed in India believe they have been underpaid at some point in time.
Additionally, about 40 per cent of the respondents are working longer hours during normal working weeks, and almost 39 per cent are increasing efforts to network and develop contacts within the organisation.
Rahul Goyal, managing director (India & Southeast Asia) of ADP, a global leader in payroll and HCM solutions, said: "Workers are now routinely clocking up what amounts to more than a working day's worth of unpaid overtime every single week."
"The arrival of COVID-19 has spurred many people to work harder than ever. Essential workers may have been struggling to keep up with the extra workload COVID-19 has created. Non-essential workers may be going the extra mile due to concerns about their job security, to compensate when colleagues have lost their jobs, or because the boundaries between work and home life have been blurred when working remotely," he said.
One in 10 workers (10 per cent) globally are now giving away in excess of 20 hours per week for free to their employers.
Moreover, given the demanding nature of their jobs, essential workers are putting in more unpaid overtime than non-essential workers at 10.1 hours per week on average, compared to 8.1 hours.
The pandemic has also made individuals more digital-savvy, and about 50 per cent of the respondents started using mobile applications or tools to manage their finances.
Over half (52 per cent) of the respondents also aim at becoming certified in new technologies to be successful in new jobs that will be created due to the pandemic.
Globally, those working from home (WFH) estimate they are putting in more unpaid overtime than those based in the workplace or on-site, at 9.4 hours per week on average, compared to 8.7 hours.
However, those taking a hybrid approach, combining home working for part of the week and on-site working the rest of the time, believe they are doing the most of all, at 9.8 hours.
Solving this growing issue is not straightforward; it requires a major cultural shift within companies to change the status quo and attitudes towards overwork, starting with a commitment from leadership, the report said.
ADP Research Institute surveyed 32,471 workers in 17 countries around the world between November 17 and December 11, 2020.