Australian workers give employers the equivalent of $110 billion in value every year in unpaid work hours. 

As national “Go Home on Time Day” (November 19th) has just passed us, it is timely to revisit the results of a study by the Australia Institute released to commemorate it in 2014, which found that Australian workers collectively gave employers the equivalent of $110 billion in value every year in unpaid work hours.

That report suggested a national trend, with full-time workers giving employers six hours in unpaid overtime per week, and part-timers giving three hours.

An Australian Bureau of Statistics analysis just released has confirmed that Australia’s addiction to overwork has not abated in the years since, although there is optimism that new generations of workers will demand healthier lifestyles.

The Australia Institute created national “Go Home on Time Day” in 2009 to promote “conversations about the significant physical and mental health consequences of poor work/life balance and the impact this can also have on workplace productivity.”

The Australia Institute offers suggestions for workers struggling to get out the door at 5 pm:

  1. Decide what time you’re going home before you go to work
  2. Identify early any tasks that might prevent you from going home on time and speak to your manager about their expectations
  3. Take a lunch break – it can clear the head and boost productivity
  4. Schedule activities for after work e.g. meet a friend at the gym, take the kids to the park
  5. Make a commitment to go home on time once a week or once a month; it’s easier to do something if it is seen as routine.

For further research and commentary from the Australia Institute, see