Job Quality Indicators » Job Demands

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Unpaid Overtime

When you are required to work extra hours, are you compensated for the extra time spent on the job? One in five employees puts in overtime during the week, averaging about 9 extra hours per week. Only about half of this overtime is paid. In other words, these employees regularly give their employer time above and beyond what is required – for free.


Unpaid Overtime: Just Over One-In-Ten Canadian Employees
Work Unpaid Overtime Hours

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey (2000).


The chart above shows the share of all employees in the labour force who work unpaid hours of overtime. Slightly more than 10 percent of paid employees receive no compensation, such as additional pay or extra time off, for working these extra hours. This is true of both men and women. Across age groups, unpaid overtime is least prevalent among young workers, most of whom work in jobs that are paid by the hour. Unpaid extra hours are more common among workers on salaries. From our indicator of workload, we know that the job demands of many salaried workers – particularly managers and professionals – are high, so it is not surprising that they put in extra time.


By Region

Unpaid Overtime: Unpaid Overtime Most 
Common In Alberta

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey (2000).


There is considerable provincial variation in the prevalence of unpaid overtime. Employees in Alberta are by far the most likely to work unpaid overtime hours, with 14 percent of them doing so. Employees in P.E.I are least likely, at 7 percent.


By Occupation

Unpaid Overtime:
Male Teachers Most Likely to Work Unpaid Overtime

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey (2000).


Unpaid Overtime:
Female Teachers Most Likely to Work Unpaid Overtime

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey (2000).

There are notable differences in the amount of unpaid overtime worked by people in different occupations. Contrary to popular perception, teachers and professors are most likely to work unpaid overtime, with well over one third of the men (37.5 percent) and almost half (46 percent) of the women in these professions doing so. This should not be surprising, given that our indicator of long work hours shows that 20 percent of teachers report working 50 hours or more during the week. This finding also runs counter to popular views about unions putting tight limits on hours worked since virtually all teachers in Canada, and most professors, belong to a union.

After educators, managers come a close second, with about one third of them reporting having worked unpaid overtime. Note that this includes managers in all sectors of the economy, public and private. Managers in the private sector, compared to those in the public sector, may have more incentives to work unpaid overtime or long hours, given that performance-based pay and other forms of non-salary remuneration – such as stock options – may be available to them. At the other end of the spectrum, workers in health care, art and culture are much less likely to work unpaid hours.


The Number of Overtime Hours Worked

Unpaid Overtime:
Male and Female Teachers Put in the Most Unpaid Overtime Hours

Source: Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey (2000).


Knowing which groups of workers are putting in extra unpaid work tells only part of the story. We also need to consider the number of unpaid overtime hours worked. Men who work unpaid overtime hours average 10.1 additional hours a week on the job. Women who work unpaid overtime hours average 8.3 additional hours each week. In short, employees who put in extra time are not just putting in a few extra minutes at the end of the day, they are working more than one extra day a week – for free!

As the chart above shows, teachers and professors who work unpaid overtime hours put in the most additional hours – totalling almost two extra days each week.


Additional Charts and Information