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PISA2018- 3.2 Work, rest and play in Australia


In Time Bomb, Work, rest and play in Australia today (New South 2012), Barbara Pocock (co-author with Helen Masterman-Smith, of Living Low Paid: The Dark Side of Prosperous Australia), Natalie Skinner and Philippa Williams, all of the Centre for Work+Life at the University of Adelaide, review the developing experience of Australians in coping with work at the same time as finding time for recreation and family responsibilities. The significant and ongoing changes in work life has meant changing work hours away from the traditional Monday to Friday nine to five. In 2009 already 53 per cent of working Australians did not work that standard schedule.

Hours worked and the timing impacts health, safety and wellbeing; working long hours increase the risk of health including mental health and quality of interpersonal relationships. Pocock and colleagues report that Australian and international studies show, regardless of work hours, that where hours worked vary significantly from individual working time preferences the risks to health increase. The impact on working women is greater than for women. Time pressure affects time available for exercise and healthy eating. That is magnified where travel time is long. Men are more likely to find they are expecting to prioritise work over personal or family life.

Lack of housing options for disadvantaged young people exacerbates and perpetuates vulnerability and disadvantage, affecting involvement with education, work and social situations. Where accommodation is difficult, disengagement results in disconnection with family and peers and the community generally, leading sometimes to ani-social activities such as vandalism.

As people moved to more and more distant suburbs as city housing became less affordable through its monetising as a form of investment and through other influences, travel times increased significantly; business has failed to respond to this by moving to outer suburbs. All these impacts are magnified when distance between home and work or education is great, a trend over recent years All is indicative of a lack of coherent urban policies. Quality employment and accommodation impact relationships and health.

Relationships of parents with children are affected.