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Theft by any other name: unsatisfactory working hours and unpaid overtime - 2022 update

Working conditions Overtime Quality of work life Labour market Industrial relations Australia

This year marks the fourteenth annual Go Home on Time Day (GHOTD), an initiative of the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute that shines a spotlight on the maldistribution of working hours and the scale of unpaid overtime worked by Australians.

Last year’s report focused on working conditions during the pandemic. Since the reopening of the global economy after pandemic era lockdowns, Australia’s economy and labour market face both new and old challenges. While the unemployment rate is at historic lows, inflation has accelerated, interest rates are rising, and real wages continue to decline. The tighter labour market conditions, combined with strong productivity growth should theoretically place workers in a position to shop around for well-paid secure work. Accordingly, we should be witnessing improvements in working conditions and wages at least keeping up with prices. But this is not what we observe, this myth that a tight labour market will automatically empower workers hides the many diverse realities of working lives in Australia.

Since 2009, the Centre for Future Work and the Australia Institute have commissioned an annual survey to investigate overwork, unpaid overtime, and other instances of time theft in Australia. This year’s poll of 1,410 people was conducted between 6 and 9 September, with a sample that was nationally representative according to gender, age and state or territory. For a complete list of the survey questions and details on the composition of the sample, please see Appendices B and C.

The report summarises the results of that polling and places it in the context of national labour force and economic trends.

Related Information

Call me maybe (not): working overtime and a right to disconnect in Australia

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