Friday 31 October 2014

Employees losing out on millions by 'working for free'

Anne-Marie Walsh

Published 17/06/2014 | 02:30

WORKERS are losing out on millions every week by working for free.

A new survey reveals that professional staff are putting in six hours more per week than they are contracted to do. As a result, the entire workforce is spending 4.2 million hours working for nothing.

This equals €92,736,000 in unpaid wages across the Irish workforce every week, based on average hourly earnings of €22.08.

According to the Citrix Work Life Barometer, four in 10 professionals are working longer hours without receiving overtime or time in lieu. Almost half admitted skipping their lunch break and 43pc said they are not using their full holiday allocation.

The research reveals a poor work-life balance in corporate Ireland, which is leading to work-related stress and little job satisfaction.

Employees in mid-level positions suffer more than their peers and are dubbed the 'Squeezed Middle' as 55pc are working longer hours without overtime. They are also more likely to be dissatisfied with their job than other skilled staff.

Citrix Ireland country manager, Grace O'Rourke Veitch, said by realising people do not have to be in the office nine to five, employers will be able to benefit from a more content and healthy workforce. She said many professionals are spending long periods of time in their cars or on public transport.

Talented

Although one in five professional homeowners would like to move, they are trapped due to negative equity or rising property prices, particularly in Dublin, she said.

She said previous research showed that there is a pool of talented women across Ireland who are blocked from re-entering the workforce because of high childcare costs or employers' inflexibility in terms of working hours.

"It's time that Ireland started to live up to its full potential by unlocking the barriers to productivity for all employees by giving professionals the flexibility to balance their work and personal lives," she said.

The study found that 55pc of professionals suffered from work-related stress over the past year.

Almost a third were unhappy with their current job, while one in five homeowners said they would consider moving to shorten their commute.

The study found employees believed more flexible work practices, including the ability to work from home, are the best means of tackling the long hours culture.

Irish Independent

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