The number of people in the UK working excessive hours has risen by 15% since 2010 and it’s having a significant impact on our mental and physical health. As well as affecting our personal lives however, this is also causing a huge strain on the NHS and benefits system.
The survey which was carried out by the National Trade Union Centre (TUC), found that more than 3.4 million Brits are working far more than they should. Furthermore, many of us who are working overtime, aren’t even getting paid for it and more than one million say they want their excessive working hours cut.
The areas of the UK with the highest number of employees working 48+ hours per week are Yorkshire and the Humber, Wales, London, the East Midlands and the North West. The industries which have been affected the most include mining and quarrying, agriculture, fishing and forestry, accommodation and food services, health and social work and education.
Aside from interfering with our family and social lives, the consequences of working such long hours have been found to be severe. Those who are regularly working more than 48 hours per week are at serious risk of developing heart disease, stress, mental illness, diabetes and suffering from strokes.
As a result, the TUC has stressed that the Government should reassess its view of the EU Working Time Directive which has been brought into UK law and stipulates a 48 hour working week. They highlighted how Britain already has a culture of working long hours and this is having a serious effect on productivity and it’s also putting workers’ health at risk.
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering with mental health problems, please feel free to visit our Depression and Anxiety Treatment Programmes page for more information about the signs, symptoms and treatments available.