One in five employees takes work home

More women than men find their work-day extended.

September 26, 2006 09:01
2 minute read.

Some 442,000 workers, or 20.4% of Israeli wage-earners, regularly take work home to finish jobs they didn't complete at their primary work place or to make preparations for future projects, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said Monday. "Today, taking work home is a routine work pattern among many wage-earners, that apparently began expanding gradually in the mid-1990s," the ministry said. "This is one more expression of the transformation occurring in the labor market over the past decade, and its increasing flexibility to expanding economic competition, more profound globalization processes and changes in information technologies." Those who take their jobs home work, on average, 45.5 hours per week, of which about 10 hours, or 22% of their total work hours, are spent at home. Those who work only in the office, however, work only 38.2 hours per week, on average, which translates to more than 40 hours less per month than those who take work home, the ministry said. In many cases, however, the workers are not compensated for the extra work done outside of the office, "even though this work pattern brings down employment costs and saves in employers' operational expenses," the ministry noted. Nonetheless, workers who bring the job into their homes earn NIS 7,698 per month, on average, as opposed to just NIS 5,075 for those who don't. Furthermore, fully 23% of take-home workers earn more than NIS 10,000 monthly, while only 7% of other workers do. The ministry noted that the flexibility provided by the ability to work from home allows "growing groups of workers - particularly working women - to spread work hours over more hours in the day while integrating work from home with free-time activities such as activities with family and children." Of those workers who bring their job home, women account for 55% of the total. Of the vast majority of workers who keep their work at the office, men account for 53%, according to the ministry's survey of nearly 3,000 households. About 77.5% of those who take work home are married, 63% of them are parents of minors and 35% are mothers, while 67% of those who keep their work in the office are married, 50% are parents and 25% of them are mothers. While only 13% of Israeli Muslims bring their work home, the ministry said this could indicate that most work in fields where there is less flexibility in work arrangements and hours - primarily industry. Immigrants who take their work home, on the other hand, worked an hour more at home than on average, since their relatively less stable situation requires greater investment in careers at the expense of private life, the ministry suggested. Managers who take work home work on average 60 hours per week, of which 13 are spent at home, while managers who work only at the office worked just 42 hours per week. Fully 61% of take-home workers work in the public sector and government, while only 31% of workers who leave work at the office were public-sector employees, the ministry said attributing the gap to the large proportion of women working in the public sector. Those who take work home were generally more educated with 16.2 years of education, on average, against 12.9 years among those who leave work to the work place.

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