Clock off on time day indicative of wider problem

by 30 Nov 2011

For the third year running, unions have declared today Go Home on Time Day – however the day, and message, is likely to be largely ignored by employees and employers alike because Australians are working longer hours than ever before.

Sydney University’s Workplace Research Centre tracked 8,000 white and blue-collar employees across Australia for five years, and the results were startling. The research found that full-time workers were working far in excess of their paid hours on a weekly basis.

Additionally, a separate study conducted by commercial property company, Regus, found that of 12,000 white-collar workers worldwide, 49% of Australians work between nine and 11 hours every day. In stark contrast, 38% of workers globally work the same number of hours.

Mark Lennon, secretary of Unions NSW, said the research flew in the face of claims that the Fair Work Act favoured employees.

“Anyone saying the pendulum has swung too far in favour of employees needs a grip on reality,” he said.

However, Professor Mark Wooden from Melbourne University’s Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research told the Sydney Morning Herald that the research suggesting Australians work some of the longest hours in the world was “absolute crap”.

Wooden said that many employees inflate the hours they work because it sounds good, and in fact find it difficult to accurately estimate how many hours they really work.

“Workers in Japan and Korea work longer than Australians,” he said, adding “Over the last 10 years, the proportion of Australians working long hours has been dropping.”


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