National ‘Go home on time day’ occurred last Wednesday (25th of November), and while the day managed to grab some great pre-event support from workers and employers, on the day it wasn’t taken so seriously.
The pre-event press – which included coverage on major Fairfax news websites including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Brisbane Times - quite clearly discussed the ‘overworked’ sentiments held by Australian workers from every industry.
And The Australia Institute, the event’s organiser, didn’t just have worker sentiment on their side. A report they released pre-event showed that on average a full time Australian employee works 70 minutes of unpaid overtime a day, which adds up to 2.14 billion hours, or $72 billion, in unpaid work every year – which equates to 6% of our economy.
Josh Fear, report co-author said, “Ultimately, managers and business owners have a responsibility to create an environment in which employees can work reasonable hours without risking their career, their health or their relationships.”
And so employees made the pledge to “Go Home On Time” on November 25th collecting a ‘leave pass’ from the site – 20,000 employees in total.
However, post-event articles which appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald and HR industry publication Human Resources Leader showed the follow-through figures don’t look quite so good.
A follow-up survey conducted the following day with 2,400 pledged participants showed that only 55% left work on time.
The most common reasons cited by the 45% who didn’t keep their promise were:
• having too much to do (68%),
• colleagues were working late (11%),
• forgot to go home on time (7%) and
• the boss made them stay late (7%).
Clearly the results show Australia hasn’t quite learned to take the concept of going home on time seriously.