Given that the UK is home to 5.2 million micro-firms and 1.88 million freelancers – this suggests that each business potentially missed out on thousands of pounds they were due last year.

Work Your Proper Hours Day is the day when people who frequently work unpaid overtime can finally wave goodbye to their unpaid days for the year, bill accurately and leave on time.

Analysing data from more than 40,000 small business customers found:

  • Of the 10 million hours recorded and tracked by FreeAgent’s customers in 2015, 80% were classed as “billable”(i.e. time that customers could charge their clients for)
  • However, a worrying 31 per cent of this time was not “billed” meaning the UK’s freelancers and micro-business worked more than a third of their working hours for free.

In addition to not charging for all the work undertaken in 2015, Britain has actually seen a 15 per cent rise in people working more than the maximum weekly 48 working hours. This is in stark contrast to countries who are introducing six hour working days (such as Sweden).

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, who provide award-winning online accounting software to freelancers and micro-businesses, said:

“For many UK freelancers and micro-business owners, the typical nine-to-five just doesn’t exist. They often work irregular and long hours, which they may not always get paid for, and on top of this they also have the added pressure of staying on top of their business finances and tax obligations.

“One positive development is that technology has really helped to take the strain off freelancers and micro-business owners when it comes to staying on top of their admin, managing their financial accounts and tracking their time. But it’s still surprising to see how much of their hard work is effectively being done for free.

“Many business owners invest some of their own personal time into the projects they work on, which they don’t bill their clients for. But we believe there are also many who don’t feel comfortable charging clients for important admin such as meetings and research, which they actually should be including in their bills. By doing so, they may not be working as profitably – or as efficiently -as they could be.”