Unpaid and happy?

A new research by Australia Institute revealed the nature and extent of overtime work in Australia.

Some of the highlights of the research:

  • A typical full-time employee works 70 minutes of unpaid overtime a day, amounting to 2.14 billion hours annually and gifting $72 billion to employers.
  • Full-time employees work more unpaid overtime then anyone else (table 2)
  • 50% of white-collared workers experienced unpaid overtime, compared to 24.2% for blue collared workers. (table 2)
  • Male employees (49.7%) worked more unpaid overtime than their female counterparts (41%)
  • Older and high-income earners work more unpaid overtime (table 5)
  • Workplace culture is a contributing factor with 44% who work unpaid overtime saying that it is ‘compulsory’ or ‘expected’ (table 6)

What’s interesting is the fact that majority of workers (63.4%) would choose to work overtime because they have a strong sense of commitment and duty to their job (table 8).  In other words, many Australians are happy to work overtime without getting paid. Most companies focus a lot on remuneration to motivate staff, perhaps altruism is underestimated.

The report (pdf) is a worthy read.






1 reply
  1. Sarah Nguyen
    Sarah Nguyen says:

    I found a lot of the stats really surprising which I guess goes to show that everything adds up. It would have been nice to have seen more analysis in the report around the different demographics and their linkage to unpaid overtime — felt that was missing somewhat.


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