Australia Institute Go Home on Time Day report says employees under surveillance charge unpaid overtime | Canberra Times

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Workers are doing six hours of unpaid overtime each week this year, despite hopes that working from home during COVID lockdowns would improve work-life balance, a new report says. A study by the Australia Institute found that workers made the annual response of more than eight weeks of unpaid overtime to an income of $ 125 billion. Workers have also reported being monitored by employers through surveillance technologies such as webcams while working from home. The Go Home on Time Day report, released on Wednesday, coincides with many Canberra-based workers returning to their regular office buildings after weeks of working from home during the ACT lockdown. Secretary of State Ben Morton has also made clear the federal government’s “strong expectation” that Commonwealth civil servants will return to office. Economist Dan Nahum of the Australia Institute Center for Future Work said the study showed that unpaid overtime had risen again in 2021 and reached 6.13 hours a week after rising to 5.25 hours in 2020. He said that unpaid overtime had increased as the number of employees working from home had increased. grown during the COVID crisis. “We think it’s a function of the pressure that people are under to try to balance their employers’ work expectations with the other commitments they have in their lives,” Nahum said. The Australia Institute report said the experience of the pandemic seemed to indicate that the shift towards working from home may not represent a step towards a better, more humane work-life balance for workers. “In many cases, it has allowed a further intrusion of work into people’s personal time and actual privacy, and a further undermining of Australia’s set of minimum standards around employment (including standard hours, overtime and fines),” the report said. Two-thirds of full-time employees performed at least some of their work at home during the COVID-19 crisis. About 22 percent were already working from home before the crisis, while 42 percent changed their work patterns as a result of the pandemic. A quarter of employees working from home said their employers had expected them to be more available during the COVID-19 crisis. Among workers who had worked from home, two-thirds also said they would continue to work at least from home after the pandemic. About 62 percent of homeworkers performed some of this work outside of normal business hours. Sir. Nahum said work from home had been accompanied by innovative monitoring methods such as webcams and keystroke monitors. About 39 percent of employees said their employers remotely monitored their activity, and another 17 percent were unsure whether they were electronically monitored or not. “When one in three workers say they are being monitored via webcam and 30 percent say their every keystroke is being recorded, it’s clear that our industrial laws are not keeping pace with technology,” Nahum said. Some forms of monitoring, such as email content monitoring and web usage, were previously dated to COVID, but employers adapted methods in light of an increasing number of employees working from home. “It’s getting more acute and more worrying,” Mr Nahum said. “It is really worrying that the legislative and regulatory response has been so piecemeal and so incomplete compared to the speed with which electronic surveillance and surveillance has really become commonplace in Australian workplaces and especially home-based workplaces.” READ MORE: The amount of lost income through unpaid overtime took money out of the economy during the recovery from COVID, he said. “It’s really money that we do not want to leave the circulation of the economy,” he said. “The business sector has an interest in ensuring that these wages are also paid, not just the individual workers.” Unpaid overtime also posed social and health risks to employees, putting pressure on family relationships and preventing non-work-related activities, Nahum said. “You also wonder if we can afford the social costs of working such a large number of hours. Australian workers work extraordinary hours if you look at the international comparisons,” Mr Nahum said. He urged politicians to strengthen the power of workers to demand reasonable, stable working hours and fair pay for every hour they work. “This is all the more important with so many Australians working from their own homes,” Mr Nahum said. Our journalists work hard to deliver local, up-to-date news to the local community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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