Something for Nothing: Unpaid overtime in Australia

by Josh Fear and Richard Denniss

This paper reveals that Australian workers are ‘donating’ more than their annual leave entitlement back to their employers in the form of unpaid overtime. The typical full-time employee in Australia works 70 minutes of unpaid overtime a day. This equates to 33 eight-hour days per year, or six and a half standard working weeks. Something for nothing – unpaid overtime in Australia examines the nature, extent and consequences of Australia’s heavy reliance on unpaid overtime. Across the workforce, the 2.14 billion hours of unpaid overtime worked per year is a $72 billion gift to employers, equivalent to 6 per cent of all economic activity in Australia.

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