Accessibility Links

Lawyers 'suffering from presenteeism'

Posted by: Laurence Simons 26/03/13

A new study from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has revealed that legal professionals in the UK are among the most likely workers to do unpaid overtime, with 49.6 per cent of people in the industry revealing that they regularly took on duties outside of work hours without getting extra cash.

While it is tempting to speculate that being a lawyer is simply too much fun, and that those who are getting involved in unpaid overtime only do so because it is the equivalent of a pyjamas-and-pizza party but with legal writs to pore over, the likelihood is that the majority of people are simply staying up late because everyone else is, meaning that not doing so would show a lack of solidarity with the firm.

At a mean average pay of £27.60 per hour, this means that legal professionals lose an average of £13,921.44 a year, the TUC claimed. Some of this is caused by heavy workloads being badly managed by employers, but more is caused by presenteeism, according to the organisation.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "A long-hours culture is bad for workers’ health and their family life - whether the hours are paid or not."

Although sleepy lawyers may become tearful and incoherent, often protesting that all their friends are allowed to stay up later than this and pretending that they have more work to do before they can go to bed, they can be soothed with a quick lullaby or a bedtime story.