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How many hours per week do Europeans work?

How many hours per week do Europeans work?

In 2023, the actual weekly working hours for people aged 20-64 in their main job, in the EU, averaged 36.1 hours. A closer look at EU countries reveals notable differences. The longest working weeks were recorded in Greece (39.8 hours), Romania (39.5), Poland (39.3) and Bulgaria (39.0). By contrast, the Netherlands had the shortest working week (32.2 hours), followed by Austria (33.6) and Germany (34.0).

This article presents a handful of findings from the more detailed Statistics Explained article based on the data from the EU Labour Force Survey (LFS). The economic activities recording the longest working week, in the EU, in 2023, were agriculture, forestry and fishing (41.5 actual working hours), mining and quarrying (39.1) and construction (38.9), whilst the shortest working weeks were recorded in activities of households as employers (26.7 hours), education (31.9) and arts, entertainment and recreation (33.0).

Methodological notes

The average working hours presented in the article include both full-time and part-time workers. The results are affected by the varying proportions of part-time workers across countries, in addition to differences in legal frameworks and in country-specific usual length of the workweek.

Actual working hours refer to the total number of hours a person has actually spent in work activities, during the reference week, in the main job. This encompasses all hours worked, including main job-related extra hours, irrespective of compensation. Excluded from this measure are periods of absence from work such as sick leave, holidays and commuting time.

Usual hours worked are the number of hours per week usually worked in the main job. They are the modal value of the actual hours worked per week over a long reference period, excluding weeks when an absence from work occurs (e.g. holidays, leaves, strikes). They represent an analysis tool to study working time arrangements.