The Chancellor is due to present his Budget Spring Statement on March 23, and unions want to see him help people out amid the cost of living rise and what they say is a rising number of unpaid hours many staff are working.
The TUC said that last year, employers claimed around £27bn of free labour last year because of workers doing unpaid overtime.
It’s research calculated that 3.8 million people did unpaid overtime in 2021, putting in an average of 7.6 unpaid hours a week, equivalent to £7,100 a year of wages going unpaid for work done.
The TUC added that the combination of labour shortages in parts of the economy and the cost of living crisis was likely to mean that many people were working more intensely for shrinking real pay packets.
In the public sector, it said, overworking and excessive workloads were driven by a recruitment and retention crisis, exacerbated by a decade of government-imposed pay restraint.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Most of us are happy to put in some extra time when it’s needed, but we should get that time back when it’s quieter. Nobody should end up doing work they don’t get paid for.
“Britain is now facing both labour shortages and a cost of living crisis. If the government does not take action to supporter workers, they will end up working longer hours for less pay.
“The Chancellor should use his spring statement to set out plans to tackle labour shortages in public services, and to fund training where there are skills shortages. And he should come forward with a plan to get wages rising across the economy.