Michael Bittman, Sunday Working and Family Time
The impacts of Sunday work have, finally, also been examined in detail by non-European researchers. According to Professor Michael Bittman of the Social Policy Research Centre of the University of New South Wales, Australia, Sunday work entails various negative consequences.
The conclusions of his report read as follows (pp. 81-82):
“Sunday is still a very special day. Many activities are especially reserved for Sundays, notably rest, recreation and association with significant others. The overwhelming majority of the workforce does not work on a Sunday. Across the whole adult Australian population, the magnitude of the average reduction in time devoted to employment on a Sunday is greater than the magnitude of change in any other category of time use on that day. On the other hand, the small minority of Sunday workers typically put in a full seven to eight working day on a Sunday. This creates enormous difficulties in coordinating schedules with most other people because these others are most available on a Sunday. As church leaders and others have feared, Sunday workers do indeed miss out on key activities with their families, especially their children. Their conviviality, the ability to associate with friends and colleagues, is also seriously compromised. The community also suffers because Sunday workers have reduced levels of civic engagement. These workers have less time for catching-up on essential domestic chores, which lowers their standard of living compared with those with more time to produce domestic goods and services of a higher quality. Moreover, Sunday workers are unable to compensate for the foregone activities by doing them during the week. Therefore, being employed on Sunday is justifiably described as working unsociable hours. Whatever the benefits claimed for a ‘less rigid’ labour market, these ‘reforms’ come at a documented cost for the individual workers, their families and their communities.”