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Human Resources and Industrial Relations


The shift to a post-industrial economy in advanced countries like Australia has been accompanied by an increase in knowledge and service-intensive work, a reduction in low skilled and blue collar jobs, decline in some traditional industries, notably manufacturing industry in Australia, and charges in various aspects of work organization. It has been observed that these changes may require different industrial relation and human resource management policies and practices than applied in previous eras. Four key aspects of work organization affected by these changes have been identified as working longer hours, work intensification, emotional labour and knowledge work. There are certain issues that creep up when the issue of the longer working hours are considered, like the health related issue of the employees and the quality of the work that they perform. Moreover it was seen that the employees have low motivation and they have low job satisfaction.


The flexibility of the workforce means to take a different approach to the traditional ways by which the work is carried out. It was seen that the working hours of the people in Australia have increased from the late 1970s. it was seen that there has been an increase in the participation of the female in the organization leading to a disruption in the family life of the people. this is taking place when the structure of the families in Australia as well as the labour market are changing. As more families have dual earners and it has increased over the last decade, it has increased the scarcity of time in the families. Thus the increased working hours of the people in Australia have wider affects and widespread influence on the individuals (Colombo, Piva and Rossi-Lamastra, 2013).


It was seen that the normal working hours of the people in the country has dropped considerably from the time of late 1970s. The standard working hours of the employees were 40 hours per week. Now it is seen that the employees are working more than 40 hours in the week with the managers working up to 49 or more hours per week (Daily, 2001). More over it was seen that the men as well as women who worked overtime were not paid the overtime they did. It was seen in a survey that the there were 44% women and 28% men who were not properly paid for the extra hours that they worked (Gilmore and Williams, 2009).

There are many factors that can lead to working for longer hours in the organization. It is important to see that there are two significant factors that lead to the more working hours, they are personal characteristic of the people such as the demography of the people and the workaholic nature of the people. The second reason is that the nature of the organization and the policies that are followed by the companies and the nature of the work done by the companies (Im and Halberda, 2012). These factors result in negative consequences for both the employer and the employees. There are three main issues that take place due to the longer work hours in the organizations, which include health and performance of the individual working in the companies; family life of the employees; and the safety issues regarding the employees.


Health and performance of the individual working in the companies

It was seen that the longer working hours that the companies have are often a reason for the ill health of the employees in the organization. It was seen that high level of stress of the employees reduces the productivity of the employees. There are issues like coronary heart diseases, insomnia, as well as certain rheumatic problems that the people faces due to the long working hours and in turn reduces the efficiency of the people. It was seen that the people who worked are at a better health than those who did not worked. But it is also to be seen that the greater working hours which are more than the perceived level of the employee can cause harm to them. It was seen that due to the long shifts in the offices the amount of sleep that the individual gets is inadequate, thus it can lead to insomnia, and excessive sleepiness during the working hours and leading to the lack of concentration in the work. It was seen that longer working hours can lead to smoking, low physical activity, obesity and higher use of alcohol (Keogh, 2014).

Family life of the employees

The hours of work are an important aspect for the family life of the people. it was seen in cases of women, that they have to tackle the situation at home and also at the work places. The women face load of the children as well as the paid work in which they are associated. To avoid this it was seen that the mother work on a part time basis to give time to their children and they tend to ignore the work and hamper the work life (Euwals, 2001). It was seen that the father of the family work full time and a study has shown that 2.5% of the employees are dissatisfied who work 35-40 hours in the week. The number of dissatisfaction was more for the employees who work 60 hours per week. A number of conflicts within the family is due to the long working hours of the members of the family and the inability to spend time with the family. There are other aspects related with the longer working hours like the parenting (Mathis and Jackson, 2003). There were instances where the childless parents were much more adaptable to the long working hours rather than the ones who have children. The little time that they get to spend with the family are spent in sorting out the conflicts and the differences.


Longer working hours and Job satisfaction

It was seen that job satisfaction is an important aspect that motivates the employees to perform better in the organization. It needs to be seen that the longer working hours of the employees are a source of job dissatisfaction for the people. People who are workaholics find the work to be more interesting and inspiring and they tend to work hard in order to please the employer and they derive satisfaction. But there arises problem when other people are asked to work more than 40 hours a week. There arises grudge and hatred for the work (Mondy, Noe and Gowan, 2005). More over if the workers and the employees are not paid enough they tend not to work and they are not associated with the work. This in turn led to absenteeism and low performance in the work. Apart from this it needs to be seen that the employer needs to incentivize the employees properly if they need to keep up their satisfaction level. It was seen that the employees are not paid adequately for the longer hours that they work (Wharton, 2006).


Conclusion and recommendation

Thus it needs to be seen that the human resources and the industrial relation professionals need to be aware of these issues so that they could improve the condition of the workers. The working hours of the people in Australia have increased from the  1970s and this is along with the participation of the women in the work force have led to increasing concerns in the family life of the people. it needs to be seen that the longer working hours of the people have led to issues regarding the mental as well as physical health of the people. More and more people are engaging into habits like smoking, consumption of alcohol in an increased rate in order to combat the stress associated with the long working hours. The family life are also hampered and the  most stress fall on the children who have working parents, they feel lonely and are sometimes depressed due to the absence of partners in the houses (Pijoan-Mas, 2006).

There are certain health related risks that are associated with the long working hours. People are unable to concentrate on their work due to the growing working hours of the employees. People are often diagnosed with sleeplessness or insomnia. There are increased level of stress which can lead to heart attack, and there are certain other health related issues like rheumatic diseases, pain in the joints as well as the muscles.

People be unsocial and they are irritated very easily if they are always at work. They tend to gat angry at the slightest instigation and shout at others. Thus they like to spend time in solitude and they do not like to socialize with the people (Seto, Morimoto and Maruyama, 2006).

It is the work of the human resource personnel to find out ways to give the employees relief from the hard work that they do and the longer hours that they need to stay in the office. The HR should devise plans so that the people are benefitted and that they give their best in the work. The employees must be motivated and they should b paid properly and provided with incentives so that they are satisfied despite the longer working hours of the company (Stanton et al., 2015).



Colombo, M., Piva, E. and Rossi-Lamastra, C. (2013). Authorising Employees to Collaborate with Communities During Working Hours: When is it Valuable for Firms?. Long Range Planning, 46(3), pp.236-257.

Daily, L. (2001). Modeling individual differences in working memory performance: a source activation account. Cognitive Science, 25(3), pp.315-353.

Euwals, R. (2001). Female Labour Supply, Flexibility of Working Hours, and Job Mobility. Economic Journal, 111(471), pp.120-134.

Gilmore, S. and Williams, S. (2009). Human resource management. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Im, H. and Halberda, J. (2012). Accurately modeling Visual Working Memory performance at the individual trial level. Journal of Vision, 12(9), pp.858-858.

Keogh, K. (2014). Longer working hours have adverse effect on patient care, nurse survey reveals.Nursing Standard, 29(3), pp.0-0.

Mathis, R. and Jackson, J. (2003). Human resource management. Mason, Ohio: Thomson/South-western.

Mondy, R., Noe, R. and Gowan, M. (2005). Human resource management. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Pijoan-Mas, J. (2006). Precautionary savings or working longer hours?. Review of Economic Dynamics, 9(2), pp.326-352.

Seto, M., Morimoto, K. and Maruyama, S. (2006). Work and Family Life of Childrearing Women Workers in Japan: Comparison of Non-Regular Employees with Short Working Hours, Non-Regular Employees with Long Working Hours, and Regular Employees. Journal of Occupational Health, 48(3), pp.183-191.

Stanton, D., Weston, R., Gray, M. and Qu, L. (2015). Long work hours and the wellbeing of fathers and their families. 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: [Accessed 20 Apr. 2015].

Wharton, A. (2006). Long Work Hours and Family Life: A Cross-National Study of Employees' Concerns. Journal of Family Issues, 27(3), pp.415-436.

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