Around one in five FDA members is working more than 11 hours of unpaid overtime each week.
A culture of "presenteeism" is endemic in the civil service which does not increase productivity. Rather, it is a barrier for all those seeking promotion to the senior ranks and undermines the quality of life for all of our members (particularly those with caring responsibilities). Overwork in many areas has led to poor health and suffering families. These are just some of the findings of our annual research on members' work/life balance.
We are pressing the Cabinet Office, departments and ministers to call time on the long-hours culture and foster a climate of smarter and more flexible working. We believe this will lead to higher productivity, a more diverse civil service and better working lives.
Long-hours working: the statistics
Approximately 2,000 people across the civil service took part in the union's 2012 working hours survey, run in conjunction with the TUC's Work Your Proper Hours campaign.
The results revealed that:
- the majority of members work excess hours
- 21% of full-timers work more than 11 hours overtime each week
- 51% admitted that they were unable to take their full leave entitlement
- 22% of part-timers work at least six hours overtime each week
- 65% feel that their department has not taken sufficient steps to reduce excess hours.
Comments by those surveyed included:
"As the civil service gets squeezed and we lose manpower, government departments need not only to find more efficient ways of working (better IT etc), but also to decide what no longer needs to be done and dispense with those tasks to free up civil servants time to do priority work within proper hours."
"For a long time civil servants have been willing to work longer hours, often unpaid, because of a loyalty and commitment to public service. As we see our conditions of service eroded - pay freezes/pensions value eroded/fewer job opportunities etc - that loyalty and commitment will go too and the unheralded 'free' labour the Government has benefited from in the past will be lost, and public service will suffer."
We are using the information given as a basis to press for the long-hours culture to become a thing of the past and for the Cabinet Office, ministers and departments to offer realistic and more flexible alternatives.