University researchers have told the Senate's work and care inquiry that long working hours are now the main driver of the gender pay gap and recommend capping the working week at 38 hours as a step towards gender equality.
In their submission, Professor Lyndall Strazdins, Dr Ginny Sargent, Helen Skeat and Amelia Yazidjoglou told the Senate select committee on work and care that long working hours have become the "predominant driver" of the gender wage gap, whereas they only accounted for 4% of the disparity in 1970 and a third in 2010.
Their research shows that long hours are "impossible" to combine with care, putting long hours jobs out of reach of most Australian women and possibly also preventing Australian men from providing more care.
Strazdins told Workplace Express that the Government should work with unions, employers and industry to create cultural and regulatory change to help employers uphold the 38 hour NES cap at s62, and address working hours ‘creep’.
She said this could be the beginning of a conversation about the future of the working week, and could lead to discussions on a four-day working week.
Source: WorkPlace Express, 14 December