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Research shows some Kiwi couples working more

12 November 2004

Research shows some Kiwi couples working more

New research shows that well educated, well paid couples are working longer hours than other New Zealanders, and longer hours than similar couples overseas.

Employment Minister Steve Maharey said the research will help inform the government’s thinking on some key labour market issues such as the participation of women and work life balance.

The study by Paul Callister, funded by the government’s Future of Work research fund, is based on census data from 1986–2001. It’s findings include:

There are increasing numbers of couples where both partners are in paid work for 40 plus hours a week. Higher education levels are associated with high weekly hours - couples where both partners have a degree are the most likely to be working long hours. In 2001, 35,000 couples without children and 32,000 couples with children worked a combined 100 hours or more a week. Those with older children were most likely to work longer hours. New Zealanders have high average working hours by international standards.

“Information like this helps the Government understand current trends and ensure that policy is built on a solid factual base,” Steve Maharey said.

“Once long working hours were associated with low incomes, but the reverse is now true. This research is another indicator of how much the New Zealand labour market, and New Zealand society, has changed.

“It’s great to have a job you’re passionate about, but it’s also great to have a good work life balance. It's important that people have time to relax and to engage with their families and communities.

"New Zealanders are working harder than their counterparts in the United States, Australia, and Europe. It's time to start thinking about how technological innovation, increased productivity and wage increases can help to promote a healthier work-life balance."

The report is available on the Department of Labour’s website www.dol.govt.nz.


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