Australians have found themselves having to work more hours off the clock and without extra pay despite the increase in work flexibility, according to a new survey that uses a nationally representative dataset.
Each week, Australians are rendering 6.13 hours of unpaid work on top of their usual load for 2021. That is more than the 5.25 hours of extra work they clocked in when the pandemic began in 2020, and higher still than the 4.62 hours of shadow work they did pre-crisis in 2019, data from Australia Institute's Centre for Future Work revealed.
This epidemic of overwork is costing individuals more than $460 every two weeks, the centre found.
Overall, the year's total is at 319 hours, or the equivalent of eight 38-hour weeks extra. All of which are not remunerated. For companies, the unpaid work gives them $125bn worth of free labour.
The findings coincide with data from the Productivity Commission, which suggest how, amid the shift to remote work, the average work day in Australia has gotten longer by eight per cent. This means, remote workers are having to render 49 minutes of service now, more than they did before the work-from-home revolution of 2020.
The study from the Centre for Future Work also showed how workers (26%) feel they are expected to be "always on" and ready to take up work no matter the hour. The COVID-19 crisis, therefore, aggravated what analysts call the "time theft crisis". This happens when employers pay workers by the hour or with an annualised salary, but they expect staff to work beyond their shift.