Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Townsend, KJ, Brown, KA, Bradley, LM & Lingard, HC 2008, 'When working five days a week seems radical: compressed working weeks in the Australian construction industry, in P Stanton & S Young (eds), 22nd Conference of the Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand: Workers, corporations and community: facing choices for a sustainable future, 6 - 8 February, Melbourne, Vic., Association of Industrial Relations Academics of Australia and New Zealand.


This paper examines the working time expectations and preferences of employees within the male dominated Australian construction industry. The construction industry in Australia is a demanding work environment, with longer than average working hours. Most construction sites operate on a six-day week basis, with both salaried and waged staff often working very long hours. Through questionnaires, interviews and focus groups, this research explores the experiences of employees in four major construction sites within Australia. We argue that the complex mix of wage and salary earning staff, along with labour market pressures means that changing to a five-day working week is quite a radical notion within the industry. However, there are some organisations willing to explore opportunities for change with mixed experiences.

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