Unpaid overtime up

MANY companies expect their employees to work an average of more than 10 non-paid hours overtime per week, a new survey has found.

The survey, conducted by recruitment firm Robert Walters, polled more than 4,000 people worldwide on how many non-paid hours of overtime their companies expected them to work.

One third of all respondents said they were expected to work 10 or more hours a week without extra pay, while 20 per cent said they were working between zero and two hours of unpaid overtime.

However, 48 per cent of respondents said they were expected to work between three and eight hours of unpaid overtime.

While most companies followed the same pattern, far more respondents worked more than 10 hours of unpaid overtime in Japan (48 per cent), Hong Kong (47 per cent), Singapore (44 per cent), the United Kingdom (32 per cent) and Australia (30 per cent).

Robert Walters Perth director Bruce Henderson said the poll results showed the majority of the working population was working five or more hours of overtime a week.

“Labour researchers indicate the trend will increase, with potential adverse effects on productivity, health and family life,” he said.

“There have been calls from some sectors for policy responses such as the European system that caps working hours.”

Older workers needed

THE Western Australian Council of Ageing has used its pre-budget submission to call for Federal Government action to ensure older workers stay in the workforce.

Council executive director Nigel Barker said older workers were needed to ensure the looming crisis of a declining workforce was averted.

“The ageing workforce will be a valuable asset that will contribute to a prosperous, sustainable economy and society here in WA, but much needs to be done,” he said.

“Age discrimination legislation, attitudinal change programs, training incentives, guidelines, codes of best practice and removal of structural barriers to get greater levels of participation in the workforce are all needed.

“Business and government must act now to address these problems. By 2010, 40 per cent of WA’s public sector employees will be eligible to retire. In the senior executive service 45 per cent will be eligible to retire before 2004 with 78 per cent before 2009.”

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