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Australians Working $71.2B in Unpaid Hours

6 May 2016 at 9:31 am
Lina Caneva
Up to $71.2 billion worth of unpaid hours are being worked by Australian full-time employees each year, according to new research.

Lina Caneva | 6 May 2016 at 9:31 am


Australians Working $71.2B in Unpaid Hours
6 May 2016 at 9:31 am

Up to $71.2 billion worth of unpaid hours are being worked by Australian full-time employees each year, according to new research.

Conducted by HR and recruitment agency Randstad, the Randstad’s employer branding research found that full-time employees were working, on average, 42.25 hours per week – 4.25 hours more than the contracted 38 hours per week they are supposed to work – equating up to $71.2 billion in unpaid overtime.

Part-time workers reported working on average 25 hour weeks, an hour above the average contract. If part-time workers work for the whole year, this equates to an additional $3.2 billion  worth of hours worked that go unpaid by employers.

Randstad CEO Frank Ribuot said that many Australians were working considerably longer hours than required by their employment contract.

“On the surface, employers may see the additional hours staff are putting into their job as a positive indicator they are engaged and invested in producing the best work possible. But the reality is the benefit of any increased output comes at the expense of workers’ personal time,” Ribuot said.

“Work-life balance is of critical importance to workers. Allowing and even encouraging staff to consistently work additional hours for ‘free’ during what should be leisure time, with no real acknowledgement of the extra time investment, will have a big impact on a company’s employer brand, particularly in regards to employee attraction and retention.”

According to the report, more than one-third (34 per cent) of Australian workers intending to change employers in the next six to 12 months cited work-life balance issues as a factor in their decision.

Of those staying with their employer, almost two-thirds (62 per cent) cited good work-life balance as the top reason to stay.

In addition, almost half (49 per cent) of workers surveyed (2 per cent up on 2015) rated good work-life balance as one of their top five considerations when assessing a potential new employer.

And work-life balance is currently the third most important factor Australians consider before accepting a job.

“An employer brand determines the quality of the workforce. It drives the level of engagement, motivation and retention of top talent – all factors which are ultimately linked to higher revenues, profit margins and overall returns on investment,” Ribuot said .

“Organisations with a strong employer brand have 28 per cent lower staff turnover and 84 per cent of people would leave their current job to work for a business with a better reputation.

“So establishing good work-life balance is key. If your people feel they are working in a culture where work and personal time is respected, you will have satisfied, productive and more engaged employees. But if they are regularly working overtime, something which might have become ‘the norm’, it’s time to review why that is, and find solutions to change.”

Across the board, employers in Australia score strongly for factors like financial health, strong management and good training programs. However the report said businesses still have a way to go when it comes to good work-life balance, which came in low on the list at ninth place.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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One comment

  • Chris says:

    Not sure I get the point – its says on average, meaning some work less and some work more. And it doesn’t mention which employees were assessed, middle management, senior executives etc.

    In most cases an employment contract will state “reasonable overtime” as an expectation of the employee. Most interviewers these days will mention during an interview what the expectation is for overtime, or what sort of culture exists (if they don’t you should at least be asking about the working culture).

    If employees don’t like it, then they shouldn’t sign the contract.

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