It has been estimated that a half of UK employees have made some form of pay sacrifice during the recession in an effort to preserve jobs.
A survey carried out by GfK NOP found that of its respondents 28 per cent of workers put in unpaid overtime.
Some 15 per cent accepted a freeze on pay rises, 14 per cent took unpaid leave, 7 per cent agreed to pay cuts and 4 per cent signed up to voluntary redundancy.
Other employees reported that they had not asked for a pay rise and others declined bonuses that were due them.
As a total proportion, 53 per cent of employees polled had made at least some form of pay sacrifice over the last 12 months.
It is thought that the willingness of many workers to help in this way has kept down the number of firms going out of business during the recession.
At the peak of the last recession in 1992, there were some 24,425 liquidations; in the first three quarters of 2009, just 14,705 firms entered liquidation.
The rise in unemployment during the current economic downturn has also been less severe than anticipated, a possible result of the flexibility of the UK’s labour market and the widespread use of pay freezes.