Ever thought you’d be rich if you were actually paid for every hour you worked? You’re probably right. New research by The Australia Institute has revealed the average worker clocks about $8,000 worth of overtime every year, or 4.3 hours a week on the average national salary of about $69,000.
Calculated across Australia’s entire workforce, that means we donate 2.5 billion unpaid hours a year to our bosses and we’re owed a collective of about $93 billion a year. Woof.
Looking at just full-time workers, things are even more dire. We work an average of just under an hour extra a day, or more than six weeks a year. An average.
If we were paid our regular hourly rate for the extra hours we worked — ie, not any overtime loading — it would equate to a 13 per cent pay rise for the average worker.
But it gets worse still: young workers give up even more hours unpaid.
Workers aged 18-39 cop about five hours and 15 minutes of unpaid time a week, compared to 3.8 hours people in their 40s do and the less than 3 hours for those over 50.
Research economist at the Australia Institute Eliza Littleton, who wrote the report, said this was “time theft”.
“Our research shows unpaid overtime is a systemic, multi-billion-dollar problem which robs Australian workers of time and money,” she said.
“This is time theft. Unpaid overtime harms our quality of life and reduces our time with family, friends and those we care for.”
The report’s findings make sense when you sit them alongside Fair Work investigations and reports of workers being overworked and underpaid time and time again.
McDonald’s, Qantas, Coles, Woolworths, 7-Eleven and Super Retail Group are just a couple of many major organisations and companies which have been found to underpay staff for overtime hours worked. No doubt many others are guilty of wage theft but have never been reported.
Now excuse me while I calculate how much a 13 per cent pay rise would give me and what I could do with that money.