Half of people stay late at work because of the culture in their company, according to research. Almost as many say their employer expects them to work over their hours, or it is the only way to get the job done.

Working Families urged people to leave work on time on Wednesday as part of the charity’s campaign to help people achieve a decent work/life balance. Its study of 1,000 adults found that three out of five could only get their work done by staying late.

The charity said the UK’s “persistent inflexible working culture” was damaging the “delicate balancing act” working parents have to perform.

With parents often having to look after their own parents as well as their children, going home on time is more important than ever, it added.

Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Parents, said: “Going home on time should be the norm, not a novelty, but for many families that’s just not happening.

“We’re inviting people to go home on time on Wednesday for a mid-week breather, see how good it feels and start making it a year-round habit.”

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