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Lawyers told to go home on time

Lawyers told to go home on time

Get set for a mass exodus from the city at 5pm this Wednesday as employees flee their offices to go home - on time.At the prompting of The Australia Institute, employees will tomorrow band…

Get set for a mass exodus from the city at 5pm this Wednesday as employees flee their offices to go home - on time.

At the prompting of The Australia Institute, employees will tomorrow band together for "Go Home on Time" day in an effort to make a dent in the reported $72 billion in overtime they're owed by their employers.

The Australia Institute established the day in response to findings that Australian workers are "donating" more than their annual leave entitlement back to their employers in the form of unpaid overtime.

A survey by the institute found that each year Australians work more than two billion hours of unpaid overtime. Furthermore, international comparisons show that Australians work the longest hours in the developed world - and law firms, which don't have the best reputation when it comes to work/life balance, have certainly played their part in helping us achieve that dubious honour.

"Ultimately, managers and business owners have a responsibility to create an environment in which employees can work reasonable hours without risking their career, their health or their relationships," said the report's co-author, Josh Fear.

According to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), job security fears have put pressure on people to work extra hours for nothing, while others have felt they have no choice because of increased workloads. ACTU secretary Jeff Lawrence said that the estimated two billion hours of unpaid overtime each year was astonishing and that workers should receive payment for any overtime they do.

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