Study: Increasing number of primary household earners overworked

"[The low-wage group] works overtime as a result of economic constraints," Endeweld wrote.

By
August 6, 2019 15:37
2 minute read.
Study: Increasing number of primary household earners overworked

Employees of Partner, an Israeli communication firm, work at their desks at Partner's headquaters in Rosh Ha'ayin near Tel Aviv, Israel. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

 The number of leading breadwinners in Israeli households working at least 46 hours per week has increased, a new study published by the National Insurance Institute has revealed.

According to the institute, 46% of primary household earners worked at least 46 hours per week in 2016, compared to 37% in 1991.

Some 28% of breadwinners, or approximately 200,000 workers, worked at least 60 weekly hours between 2010 and 2016.

In April 2018, the government reduced the workweek by one hour to 42 hours, or 182 hours per month. Overtime is limited by law and must be compensated according to the number of additional hours worked.

The study authored by Dr. Miri Endeweld also discovered that working overtime characterizes both extremes of the wage spectrum – affecting those earning very high wages and very low wages.

While the percentage of employees working overtime among low-wage workers is smaller (24%) than among high-wage workers (39%), the group of low-wage workers is worthy of particular attention, the study said.

"[The low-wage group] works overtime as a result of economic constraints," Endeweld wrote. "And studies show that the negative results of being overworked are more severe for such a group."

The proportion of employees working overtime varies significantly according to gender and population group, the study revealed. Men working overtime is twice as common as women, and new immigrants are also characterized by high rates of overtime.

In addition, the study considered the impact of working overtime on assisting Israelis to escape poverty. If the primary household earners did not work overtime, the study shows, the poverty rate among their families would be approximately 27% higher.

The current rate of escaping poverty as a result of overtime is lower than during the 1990s, when poverty rates would have been 44% higher if primary household earners did not work extra hours.

"The findings of the study may have implications for labor market policy, especially in light of signs that the phenomenon [of overtime] is expanding in the new world of work," said Endeweld.

"As found in several studies, the negative consequences of overworking on health, welfare and society require action to reduce their impact – action that is likely to be particularly effective for workers who would have refrained from being overworked if it was not for economic constraints."


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