Does it seem you are working more than ever just to keep up with the demands at work?  Workers pay has not kept pace with inflation for many and now a survey shows they may be working as much as six additional weeks of personal time for the same amount of pay.

The study measured unpaid overtime worked in 2022 vs. 2023 by over 3,000 workers.

If you are employed in Washington State, it is estimated you worked some of the 1.1 billion unpaid hours worked here in 2023.

The survey found a 313% increase in the hours of unpaid overtime last year compared to 2022.

Washington employees worked an extra 4.7 hours per week on average of unpaid overtime last year, compared to 2022. The total averaged 244 hours over the year per employee, and collectively as a state, a whopping 1,178,941,359 hours.

Overall, workers across the US put in an estimated 46 billion unpaid overtime hours in 2023..  That was an average of 4.5 hours per week of uncompensated work per employee, totaling an extra 233 hours on average per worker in 2023.  That's is the equivalent of working almost six extra weeks.

  • Interactive map showing the increase in unpaid overtime last year, by state

How Or Why Is This Happening?

Job opportunities and rising wages are no longer trending in favor of workers with fewer openings and slower wage growth.

The study by Rebel’s Guide to Project Management revealed a huge increase in unpaid overtime occurred in 2023.

Who Worked The Most Unpaid Overtime?

Workers in New Hampshire averaged nearly 10 extra hours of unpaid overtime each week while Montanans actually worked less overtime without pay in 2023 versus 2022.

Iowa, Alaska, Utah and North Carolina rounded out the Top 5 states with an increase in unpaid overtime in 2023:

What Can Employees Do About The Situation?

1. Track Time: Log your work hours to identify patterns of unpaid labor. Use the data to  discuss workload with your employer and try to negotiate a fair compensation for overtime hours, especially when roles extend beyond the typical workday.

2. Set Boundaries: Clearly define work hours and stick to them. Use out of office messages to let people know when you will be available.  Don’t download work apps to your personal phone.

3. Prioritize: Focus on tasks that align with key project goals. If it's not critical, delegate or defer it.

4. Leverage Technology: Automate repetitive tasks and learn how to use the features of project management tools to streamline workflow.

5. Communicate Efficiently: Opt for asynchronous communication when possible to avoid unnecessary meetings. Use technology to create meeting highlights and minutes.

6. Educate Yourself: Understand the labor laws and regulations regarding overtime. Know your rights and when to seek guidance.

7. Lead by Example: Don’t expect colleagues to work uncompensated overtime.  Manage your own hours and advocate for employees and peers for fair compensation.

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