What is a Healthy Work Limit?
The Australian National University, ANU for short, has discovered that people who work more than 39 hours a week risk damaging their health and increasing their chances of getting ill.
The research reveals that people can lead a healthy life if they work roughly only 39 hours a week, instead of the 48-hour-week limit set internationally about 80 years ago.
Lead researcher Dr. Huong Dinh from the ANU Research School of Population Health claims that:
Long work hours erode a person’s mental and physical health, because it leaves less time to eat well and look after themselves properly.
Unfortunately, Dr. Dinh says that two in three Australians who work full-time, spend more than 40 hours a week at work, and that women work even longer hours if we take into consideration all the unpaid work they do at home.
Dr. Dinh underlines the fact that the healthy work limit for women is 34 hours per week if their other commitments are taken into consideration. Comparatively, the healthy work limit for men is up to 47 hours a week. This is because men spend less time on domestic work than women.
He also points out that although women are just as skilled as men, they have lower paid jobs and less autonomy than men, and that the time they spend on care and housework is mostly disregarded.
Given the extra demands placed on women, it’s impossible for women to work long hours often expected by employers unless they compromise their health.
The research was a part of the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey and it used data from about 8,000 Australian adults.
Co-research professor Lyndall Strazdins from the ANU Research School of Population Health said that Australia should start thinking about ways to resolve at least a part of the problems that affect work and home life balance.
The professor claims that Australians need to change their attitudes towards work, and that men should be encouraged to “take time to care without penalty or prejudice.” What is more, she emphasizes the fact that Australians need to realize that working long hours does not necessarily mean doing a good job.