Over two-thirds (68%) of foreign construction workers work so much overtime that their total monthly overtime hours would breach the legal maximum of 72 overtime hours a month. Of these, one in three (23%) worked twelve and a half hours or more in a single day — which also violates the legal daily maximum of 12 hours.
Construction workers generally do not have much say over how much overtime they have to put in; the project schedule is fixed by their managers.
These were the alarming numbers coming out of Transient Workers Count Too’s Work Fatigue Study. The survey fieldwork was conducted in November 2016, with a sample population of 577 male Work Permit holders. The biggest group among them were construction workers (417 respondents), most of whom were Indian or Bangladeshi.
It appears that the laws governing maximum hours are widely ignored.
As a result of being asked to do so much overtime, the men get the bare minimum of sleep consistent with health. On average, these workers were getting just seven hours of sleep a night when they have to do work involving much physical labour six days a week. 24% of respondents reported getting only 6 hours or less of sleep.
The study also found that their rest and leisure were reduced further by having to queue for bathrooms in their dormitories and having to wait for transport. 34% of workers relying on the company bus or company lorry were brought to their worksites an hour or more before the actual start of work. At the end of the workshift, 24% found they had to wait 30 minutes or more for the company vehicle. They are not paid for those waiting periods.
The report (pdf, 29 pages) can be downloaded by clicking the icon at right.