Families have right to time together, face severe damage from overwork, bishops state
CANBERRA, Australia. May 2, 2007 (www.catholic.org) – Families have a right to spend time together and workers to be freed from becoming slaves to work, said the Australian bishops.
In the pastoral letter, “Keeping Time – Australian families and the culture of overwork,” Bishop Christopher Saunders, chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council (ACSJC), stressed that a growing number of the country’s workers, “working their hardest for the ones they loved,” are being denied time to spend with family and friends.
Caught within an economic system that has “produced more jobs that are low paying, insecure and involved irregular hours,” families are struggling simply to meet rising costs of living and higher levels of accumulated household debt, Bishop Saunders said.
“Over the past two decades there has been a massive encroachment of work into family time. An increasing number are juggling the demands of work with their family commitments,” said the Broome bishop in the letter dated May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.
“People caught in the dilemma of having to work longer and harder in jobs that really upset the normal family routine are entitled to ask, ‘where are the promised benefits of workplace flexibility,’” he said, pointing to the significant impact on families with young children and those with caring responsibilities for elderly family members.