November 19, 2012
Brian Boyd, Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary, said today that new research proves long hours are putting Australian workers’ mental and physical health and safety at risk, and urges workers to start going home on time.
The Australia Institute recently surveyed 1,495 workers for this year’s national Go Home On Time Day, to be held on Wednesday 21 November. According to the research, Australians work more than 2 billion hours of unpaid overtime every year, ‘gifting’ approximately $72 billion to employers. This means that Australians are now working three times more hours of unpaid overtime than they volunteer to community organisations.
The survey also found:
• 3.2 million experience stress or anxiety due to their working arrangements;
• more than 2.2 million go to work having little idea of what time they might be going home that night;
• 2.9 million experience loss of sleep; and
• 2.2 million say they affect their ability to fulfill family commitments
“Increasingly, ‘flexibility’ is working in favour of the employer and this has meant that workers are now working increasingly long and unpredictable hours,” said Mr Boyd.
“We now know that these arrangements increase workers’ stress and fatigue, which puts their health and safety at risk, which in turn leads to reduced productivity, increased staff turnover and significant costs to everyone.
“Employers therefore suffer too and should support the ‘Go Home on Time Day’ campaign”, said Mr Boyd.
The goal of a healthy work-life balance is a dream for many: in 2009 the majority of Australian employees did not take all their annual leave entitlements. The VTHC urges Victorian workers to stop and think – start by going home on time on Wednesday 21 November: download the ‘Leave Pass’ and poster. But more importantly, workers should not make it a one day effort: it’s crucial that workers ensure the issues of unpaid overtime and irregular working hours are raised with employers through their unions.
Mr Boyd said he supported the ACTU and beyondblue making this a national issue.
ACTU President Ged Kearney and beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell will deliver a Go Home On Time Day address at the National Press Club on Wednesday, 21 November 2012.
For further information, please contact:
Brian Boyd, Secretary 0418 587 461