Australians are working the equivalent of six extra full-time weeks a year in unpaid overtime, equating to over $8,000 in lost wages for the average worker, or $92 billion overall.
That’s according to a new study from the Australia Institute, a policy research and advocacy organisation, which surveyed over 1,000 workers.
Here’s what else it found.
- Participants worked 4.3 hours of unpaid work a week on average. Unpaid work was highest in people aged 18-39.
- Goods producers, such as agriculturalists and miners, worked the most unpaid overtime (5.8 hours per week) by industry.
- Managers worked the most unpaid overtime (5.7 hours) by occupation. This was followed by professionals and service workers (4.3 hours).
Most participants said they have performed overtime (71%). Almost half of those who have done so say they do it often.
The most commonly-reported negative experiences from overtime work were physical fatigue, stress and anxiety, and feeling mentally drained.
38% of workers in the survey said that working overtime was expected in their workplace. 8% said their workplace discouraged overtime.
A right to disconnect
84% of workers in the survey said they would support federal legislation directing employers to avoid contact with employees after work hours.
France passed a law in 2016 protecting workers who don’t respond to messages outside work hours.
A Senate Committee is currently considering options to promote a stronger balance between work and care responsibilities and is due to hand down a final report in February.