March 25, 2022
Unpaid overtime and wage stagnation maddens lawyers
A new union is highlighting overwork and the underpayment of younger lawyers.
Aotearoa Legal Workers co-president Tess Upperton says a survey of members found young lawyers working on average about 7.5 extra hours a week – in effect an extra day of unpaid labour.
She says that puts many young lawyers below the minimum wage and heightens stress and poor mental health.
“One hundred per cent of respondents from five large law firms say they are seeing colleagues’ mental health suffer and for themselves it’s about 74 per cent saying they are suffering at work so these numbers are really high and we’re seeing the reasons for that – we’ve got the overtime that is not being paid and we’re seeing quite a lot of wage stagnation as well,” she says.
Ms Upperton says Māori make up about 10 per cent of junior lawyers.