working long hours???

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    One in 5 works 50 hours
    By Shane Wright
    From: AAP

    ONE in five Australian workers puts in more than 50 hours a week at work as they try to cover the costs of an increasingly expensive consumer-driven lifestyle, a new study has found.

    Compiled by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, the study found around 22 per cent of employees worked at least 50 hours a week.

    In about half of those cases, those involved had been working extended hours for at least a year.

    Among those who worked persistently long hours were teachers, academics, lawyers, broadcasters, actors, journalists and pilots. Road transport and railway workers also put in very long hours.

    People in country areas were also more likely to put in extended periods at work.

    One of the study's authors, Mark Wooden, said it appeared many of those workers putting in long hours were doing so because they had to cover the costs of their lifestyles.

    He said it seemed people were in a "work and spend" cycle. They used the income gained from long hours to pay for an expensive lifestyle, but then, because of their financial commitments, they could not reduce the hours they worked.

    "It is startling how many employees are working such long hours year after year just to help pay off their debts," he said.

    "A clear implication of the research is that reclaiming leisure and family time will require many households cutting back on expenditure."

    The study found highly educated workers, with good promotion opportunities and flexible work hours arrangements, were most likely to work extended hours.

    "The prevalence of long working hours increases as we move away from the major cities towards increasingly remote areas, a finding that may be related to the types of employment available in the outback and farming areas," the study found.

    Self-employed people were also more likely to work long hours than those in the public sector.

    The study's authors said the results should be a warning bell for the Government as it tried to find a system that balanced work and family commitments.

    "The analysis strikes an ominous note: long hours at any point in time are in fact often persistent," they said.

    In an unexpected result, the paper also found that while some fathers put in extra hours to cover the costs of their children, others reduced their hours to spend more time with their offspring.

    "Many fathers ramp up hours as a breadwinner response to child-rearing," the study's lead author Robert Drago said.

    "But there is also another group of fathers behaving quite differently, and avoiding long hours to spend more time with their children."

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