Wondering why you’re tired all the time? It could be that you’re overworked. Not necessarily by your employer, but by both the paid and unpaid hours you’re putting in to get stuff done at home and in the office.
Australian women are still spending around twice as many hours on child care and household duties than men, even once women increase their time in paid employment.
A fact sheet prepared by the Australian Institute of Families Studies for the National Families Week conference this week breaks down the gender differences between mothers and fathers when it comes to paid and unpaid work.
It found these differences are particularly obvious during the childbearing years, with the biggest divide in the average time spent on paid work, parenting and household tasks occurring between mothers and fathers of children under five.
Mums working full-time with a youngest child under five were found to be spending an additional 3.6 hours on child care and 2.4 hours on housework a day. For part-time mums, the figure extended to 4.9 hours on child care and 3.5 hours on housework, while those not in paid employment were spending 5.7 hours on child care and 4.5 hours on housework.
So for those mums working an eight hour day in paid employment, factor in the child care and household work and she’s working a 14 hour day. That’s not including commuting time, and the extra unpaid overtime she may be putting in at the office. All up, that means she’s working a 70 hour week – also not factoring in any additional duties completed over the weekend.
Unsurprisingly, the report found working mothers were more likely than any other group to feel pressed for time, with 62% of such women declaring they’re almost always, or often, rushed or pressed for time. Just 6% of employed women with children reported they’re rarely or never rushed for time.
Dads step up only slightly when mums are in full-time work, spending 2.6 hours on child care and 1.8 hours a day on housework compared to the 2.1 hours on childcare and 1.3 they spend when mums were not working.
In households with a mother, father and children under 12, Dads were found to rarely be undertaking the child care tasks alone – with mums staying home more often when their kids were ill, while dads were getting involved during more-shared tasks, such as getting the children ready for bed.
Still, despite feeling pressed for time, Australian employees are generally satisfied with employment flexibility, according to comments made by AIFS’ Senior Researcher Dr Jennifer Baxter in the report.
“Employed men and women reported quite high levels of satisfaction with the flexibility they had to balance work and non-work commitments,” she said.
“Around six in ten employed men and women reported being very satisfied about their job flexibility. The most satisfied were those who said they could access flexible start and finish times.”