Science

Long-Work Week Puts Health At Risk

By Donna Bellevue , Feb 02, 2017 02:14 AM EST
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Engaging in a long work week may put your health at risk, Australian researchers say. Working more than 39 hours a week could harm your health, even more so if you're a woman, Australian researchers have found. The study have also found that there is a "tipping point" when men and women's mental health also begin to deteriorate due to long hours of work.

The "tipping point" for both men and women is 39 hours of long work. However, for women who also have caring responsibilities at home, 34 hours is the limit. For men, they can work on for 47 hours primarily because they don't have any extra responsibilities after work.

The researchers studied more than 7800 Australians to gather the results. The latest finding has urged Researcher Professor Lyndall Strazdins to say that the International Labor Organization's maximum 48-hour limit for workers is clearly outdated. The guideline for working hours was set 80 years ago when it was devised at a long gone era where men dominated the workplace.

The long work week study also finds that there is a huge difference between men and women's working week hours and their caring work hours at home. In the study, men worked an average of 44 hours and spent 21 hours on care and domestic duties a week, while women spend 33 hours at the workplace and 31 hours attending to household duties. Working 48 hours a week was found to be the healthy limit for those who only had minimal caring responsibilities outside of work, the SBS reports.

But once working professionally and working to care for the family were thrown into the mix, people show more stress  physically, and their mental health shows deterioration after working for 34.5 hours. Strazdin thinks that workers, companies, and the government should start a conversation about modifying expectation and work hours. According to The Conversation, businesses worldwide need to set a healthy work hour limit for those who have additional caring responsibilities at home to avoid the ill-effects of a long work week.

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