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How Many Work Hours in a Year Are You Required to Work?

Content how many work hours in a year are you required to work

Working time or your work hours in a year is the period of time that a person spends for labor which is paid. Each country has its own regulations when it comes to work hours per year such as stipulations of the minimum daily rest periods, annual holidays, and the maximum number of working hours per week. The average hours worked per year vary from person to person depending on location, culture, lifestyle, choice, and profitability.

Legislation has limited the working hours per day, per week, per month, or per year. This means that if an employee should be suffered to work overtime, the employer will need to pay overtime payments to him as required by law. While standard working hours vary from person to person, as already mentioned previously, it is generally around 40 to 44 hours per week and the additional overtime payments are around 25% to 50% above the normal hourly payments.

As we progress, many countries around the globe have gradually decreased its average hours worked per year. To set things in perspective, the U.S. has gone from a 60-hour per week load in the late 19th century to around 33-hour per week today. As of date, the top countries with the lowest average hours worked per year are Netherlands with 27 hours, France with 30 hours, and Germany with 25.6 hours. The decrease in the work hours in a year is to address the problem with unemployment, high carbon emissions, low well-being, entrenched inequalities, overworking, family care, and the general lack of free time. Low work hours per year is especially observed in developed countries.

Technological advances in efficiency, the increase of women equally participating in making income, and dropping fertility rates leading to fewer hours needed to be worked to support children have all contributed to lowering the work hours in a year and, ultimately, increasing the standard of living.

Lower working hours, higher productivity

Studies have shown that a shorter work week could improve one’s mental and physical health, and even mitigate climate change. To substantiate this claim, a top public health doctor has said that long working hours have proved to be a big cause of mental ill health and increased risk of stroke and heart disease.

Fewer work hours per year mean one can have more time to care for family and children and even for one’s self, do academic and non-academic activities, socialize with neighbors and friends, as well as engage in sports and other physical activities. All these lead to an increased mental and physical condition.

To set an example on the importance of lowering working hours, Britain works more than 45 hours a week while 1.85 million remains unemployed. A shorter working week could mean a fairer distribution of available work and, consequently, reduce the number of people working far too many hours and the number of people with no work at all.

As of date, 85% of working British men work more than 30 hours a week but only 57% of working British women. Lowering work hours could help promote gender equality by allowing men to have more free time to care for his family and children, and even for themselves.

If developing countries are afraid to lower its average hours worked per year due to economic risks, they need only to look at countries such as Netherlands and Germany. Despite having the lowest work hours in a year, their economies are doing fine. Additionally, productivity has shown to improve with shorter hours. Higher productivity correlates with lower working hours in the richest countries.

While some industries might find it hard to implement shorter work week, there are various alternatives they can observe such as shifting. This can simply be tackled and discussed with the management to make way for a mentally and physically healthier workforce. On the other hand, there may be some countries which may find this culturally challenging and against their work ethics. Nonetheless, seeing the benefits the workforce could gain with a shorter week are good enough reasons to at least open it for discussion and assessment.

Average hours worked per year per country

The top five countries with the lowest working time are Germany with 1,371 hours, Netherlands with 1,425 hours, Norway with 1,427 hours, Denmark with 1,436 hours, and France with 1,473 hours.

They are followed by Slovenia with 1,561 hours, Switzerland with 1,568 hours, Belgium with 1,576 hours, Sweden with 1,609 hours, and Austria with 1,629 hours.

The countries that belong to the next 10 countries with the lowest working time are Luxembourg with 1,643 hours, Finland with 1,645 hours, Australia with 1,664 hours, United Kingdom with 1,677 hours, Spain with 1,689 hours, Canada with 1,704 hours, Japan with 1,729 hours, Italy with 1,734 hours, New Zealand with 1,762 hours, and Slovak Republic 1,763 hours.

The rest of the countries have the following average hours worked per year: Czech Republic with 1,776 hours, United States with 1,789 hours, Ireland with 1,821 hours, Turkey with 1,832 hours, Lithuania with 1,834 hours, Israel with 1,853 hours, Portugal with 1,857 hours, Hungary with 1,858 hours, Estonia with 1,859 hours, Iceland with 1,864 hours, Poland with 1,923 hours, Latvia with 1,938 hours, Russia with 1,985 hours, Chile with 1,990 hours, Greece with 2,042 hours, South Korea with 2,124 hours, Costa Rica with 2,216 hours, and Mexico with 2,228 hours.

Between the highest average hours worked per year accounted for and the lowest, there is an 857-hour gap which is equivalent to more than 100 working days in a year.