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Bittman M. Sunday Working and Family Time. 2005.
Sunday Working and Family Time
This parliamentary term seems likely to witness major industrial relations 'reforms' in Australia. Allegedly these changes will increase the competitiveness of Australian industry through reducing standardisation and facilitating more flexible arrangements. This threatens to accelerate the process of recent decades that some have called the 'demise of the standard working hours'. Perhaps as a response to this change, the notion of 'unsociable hours' of work has simultaneously gained some currency. However, there is very little information on the prevalence of employment at unsocial times or on its effects. This article uses information drawn from time-use surveys to show how the proportion of working-age Australians engaged in paid work on a Sunday--the day traditionally reserved for rest--has changed since 1974. It goes on to analyse the kinds of activities particularly reserved for Sundays and how Sunday work impacts on these activities. It also examines the question of whether those who work on a Sunday can compensate by catching-up traditional weekend activities on their day(s) off during the week. The research demonstrates that Sunday workers forfeit significant amounts of time for relaxation, family conviviality and civic association. Problems of scheduling and coordination limit the capacity of Sunday workers to recover these benefits during the week.