Working 9 to 4.30

People in OECD countries are working slightly shorter hours than they used to. In 1998, they worked 1,821 a year; a decade later, that had fallen to 1,764. Over a 40-hour week, that amounts to a cut of just under 90 minutes. The reasons for the fall vary, but they can reflect factors like policies that promote flexible working for parents.

The longest hours worked are in the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Korea and Portugal; the shortest are in France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway. Based on the headline numbers, the difference between the country with the longest hours, Korea, and that with the shortest, the Netherlands, is 867 hours – divide that by 52, and it’s about 16 hours a week. But an important note: International comparisons need to be treated with caution as the nature and reliability of data sources vary greatly between countries. 

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