Blog«Say NO To Unpaid Overtime
Say NO To Unpaid Overtime
3 June 2020
7 June 2023
3.27 minutes


A new study from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute, has calculated that as many as two-thirds of Australian workers are now regularly expected to put in some form of unpaid overtime. This may be the current modern world of work, but that doesn’t make them acceptable.

Unpaid overtime takes $116 billion from household incomes every year. The annual loss to a full time works is calculated at $10,641, or a weekly loss of 
$205. For a part-time or casual worker, its $7,840 annual loss and a weekly loss of $151.

It’s time theft. If a worker stole $10,641 from their employer they would get sacked and face criminal charges. Why is it acceptable for an employer to steal this sort of money from the pockets of their employees?

The study showed some disturbing trends for Australian workers. About half of all workers don’t use their holiday leave, with 59% saying they are overworked, and 14% saying it wold harm their job security.

Dr Stanford of the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute said the situation is getting worse, not better.

“If you are a full-time worker, on average you are reporting about six hours a week of unpaid work for your employer,” he said.

“That’s a fair amount in a week, but add it up over a year and it’s staggering — that’s over 300 hours.”

Calculated at the average Australian wage, that represents around $12,000 worth of labour per year per employee, Dr Stanford said.

“If most Australians thought who could they give a generous gift of $12,000 to, their employer wouldn’t be at the top of the list,” he said.

Dr Stanford said part-time and casual workers, who might only get 10 or 15 or 20 hours a week, are the most vulnerable. They are being asked to stay longer and work for free,” he said.

What’s worse, the union has had issues with insurers paying out on WorkCover claims if someone was injured whilst working out of hours they were not asked to.

The Health Workers Union asks all members to never do any work or overtime that is unpaid. For info, or to read the study in full go to