Does the weekend have a future?

Monday I have Friday on my mind.

The Easybeats' famous lyric about living through the working week could soon mean very little to workers in the banking sector who may have to work on Saturdays and Sundays.

ANZ, Commonweath Bank, Westpac and GE Capital Finance have applied to Fair Work Australia to extend ordinary hours to include noon to 6pm on Saturdays and 8am to 6pm on Sundays, as reported in The Australian Financial Review today.

The application proposes the span of hours to be 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm on Saturdays and 8am to 6pm on Sundays.

So with hundreds of thousands of extra workers potentially hitting the office on Saturdays and Sundays, is this the latest bid to kill off the weekend?

Toby Fattore, a senior research analyst at the University of Sydney's Workplace Research Centre, said the nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday working week has long been fluid, with those in retail, hospitality and caring professions working weekends.

But more and more people were working weekends now because of an increase in both service work and casual labour.

"The standard employment contract of nine-to-five has really been fragmented for quite some time," he said.

"Instead we have things like part-time work, flexible hours, split shifts, which include working on weekends, and working after nine-to-five."


Technology allowing people to access their work and emails from home had also changed working hours and the traditional working week.

"That is certainly a trend," Mr Fattore said.

"The use of creeping emails and checking up on things while you're supposed to be having a croissant on Sunday morning is also structured into the way work has changed over time, too."

Barbara Holmes, the managing director of Managing Work/Life Balance International, said working on the weekends had its pros and cons.

"Where you've got a couple with children it means one of them could work without having to worry about childcare, for example."

It could also mean more time during the week for things you usually have to try to fit into a work day, she said.

"If you go and collect the kids or you go and see grandma and you're really stretched, this way if you were working alternate weekends it could be during midweek you'll actually be able to catch up on all those things you've been desperate to do."

On the flip side, working weekends could also impede on one's social life.

"It could mean that you're going to miss some family activities or that time where you really were having time for you, once every three or four weeks you won't have it.

"It's a two sided coin."

twitter This reporter is on Twitter @steph_gardiner

This article Does the weekend have a future? was originally published in The Sydney Morning Herald.