Latest Public Sector News


Unpaid overtime ‘commonplace’ for part-time council employees – Unison

Unpaid overtime amongst part-time workers in schools and councils has become commonplace and is “exploitative”, trade union Unison has stated.

A survey of more than 2,600 part-time workers – who make up around 60% of all employees in local government and schools – revealed that nearly two-fifths of respondents (39%) work up to two hours of unpaid overtime each week, with 12.5% working 3-4 hours and almost 10% working 5-10 additional hours for no pay.

A fifth of respondents also stated that they are covering the work of a redundant or vacant post as well as their own, with almost half a million posts slashed from local government alone under the coalition government.

Almost one million workers are classified as working part-time because they work less than the standard working week of 37 hours, or 36 hours in London. These workers are not paid enhanced overtime rates until they reach full-time hours, allowing employers to ‘exploit’ them by offering term-time only contracts in schools, or contracted hours that are slightly lower than full-time in local government.

The majority of part-time workers are concentrated in low paid jobs, and many have more than one job to survive because full time work is not available. Of those surveyed, 75% of them earn between the full-time equivalent of £13,505 and £23,151, well below median UK earnings of £27,000.

Heather Wakefield, head of local government at Unison, said: “Part-time workers are the lifeblood of local government and schools and local services would collapse without them. Yet they are facing an all-out assault on their pay, conditions and hours of work.

“They are routinely used to fill full-time gaps in the workforce left by redundancies, but often with no security of contract, hours or income, and no overtime pay.”

Unison also stated that the survey highlights the start of a trend in zero hour contracts in councils and the high degree of flexibility required of many part-time workers.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment



public sector executive tv

more videos >

last word

Prevention: Investing for the future

Prevention: Investing for the future

Rob Whiteman, CEO at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance (CIPFA), discusses the benefits of long-term preventative investment. Rising demand, reducing resource – this has been the r more > more last word articles >

public sector focus

View all News


Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >
How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

19/06/2019How community-led initiatives can help save the housing shortage

Tom Chance, director at the National Community Land Trust Network, argues t... more >


Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

17/12/2018Artificial intelligence: the devil is in the data

It’s no secret that the public sector and its service providers need ... more >

the raven's daily blog

Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

23/06/2020Cleaner, greener, safer media: Increased ROI, decreased carbon

Evolution is crucial in any business and Public Sector Executive is no different. Long before Covid-19 even became a thought in the back of our minds, the team at PS... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this feeling of imminent change than the article James Palmer, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has penned for us on p28. In it, he highlights... read more >