An interesting post from No Right Turn this week, who notes the origin of Labour Day, and joins others calling for the limitation of the working week to 40 h0urs.

The motivation for the shared concern Idiot/Savant expresses is a statistic that 20% of New Zealanders work more than 50 hours per week. Some of the stats, and people talking about them are included in this article.

‘Interesting’, I thought. ‘it’s glad to see someone sticking up for the little guy.’ Having worked in service industries, where 60-70 hour weeks are the norm, and where you’re regarded as a ‘kitteh’ for not pulling double shifts of 15 hours or more, mandatory limits on hours could be a good thing.

Except where they don’t work because you have to employ too many individuals to make them effective and efficient. Kitchens for example work better when chefs and supports work longer hours.

But, I/S is right. Longer hours means a tougher life for those working them. Life-Work balance is not only something that should be shared by all workers, it should be practiced by employers as well. A more relaxed, happy country is better for everyone.

It was then that I read this article over at Well Urban.

Apparently, wage workers in the cities aren’t the one’s pushing up the national average. It seems that this average is being pushed up by rural and primary workers, as illustrated by Tom Urban here. The “over-worked office drone” stereotype might well be a myth. At the very least, I/S’ concern that workers are being unduly exploited in working long hours might be an over-statement of the case. Farmers are of course self-employed.

I’ll try rustle up some more accurate data than that presented in the blogs/newspapers, and get back to you.