Work-Life Balance

With hours of work generally on the increase, the issue of work-life balance is also becoming increasingly important.

The concept of the standard eight hour day is fast disappearing for many Australian workers. Australia, once recognised as the ‘working man’s paradise’ for its Eight Hour Day achievement, now has amongst the highest working hours in the developed world.

Many workers are working longer hours in their jobs, sometimes without even proper financial recompense. Others are juggling several casual or part-time jobs. But for whatever reason, many workers are finding it difficult to find a correct ‘work-life’ balance. This can have implications both for the health and safety of the worker and also for the family. Workers may find themselves stress and/or fatigued.

This is a legitimate OHS concern and as such can and should be raised with your employer, either through Section 73 of the Act, or through the health and safety committee. Under the consultation requirements of the Act, your employer has a duty to consult with you on identifying and controlling hazards.

Workplace Health and Safety and the University of Queensland has developed a ‘Better Work-Life Balance’ questionnaire to help workplaces evaluate and improve their work-life balance policies. The survey aims to measure how effectively organisations accommodate work-life balance. It assesses employee awareness of work-life balance policies and their comfort levels about the policies at organisations that are looking at becoming employers of choice and gaining other benefits of getting work-life balance right.