Special Report

How Long the Typical Work Week Is Around the World

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As economies around the world continue to struggle with the pandemic, one of the major and likely lasting changes is in the area of labor and the workplace.

The coronavirus uprooted workers and forced many to work part time or to work remotely. The virus also altered companies’ philosophy on the workweek, allowing employees more flexibility regarding where they work — at the office or away from it. Going forward, this will make it more difficult to determine how many hours someone is actually working.

24/7 Wall St. reviewed 2020 data on the typical number of hours worked per week among full-time employees in 35 mostly affluent nations from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. We listed these countries from the shortest typical workweek to the longest. 

It is not only companies that determine the length of the workweek. Labor laws vary from nation to nation. Work culture, industry makeup, and joblessness all factor into how much people work, depending on where you live. 

Some countries have mandated the maximum number of hours that someone can work. France passed a law that went into effect in 2000 that lowered the workweek for those working at large companies from 39 hours to 35 hours. The impact of mandated shorter workweek is interesting.

While one study from 2006 published by the International Monetary Fund found that the law limited the choice of workers and dual-job holdings rose, and that some workers moved from large companies to smaller companies where hours were not constrained. Still, polls consistently find French workers to be satisfied and happy with their jobs. (France is among the most popular countries on CSC’s do not travel list.)

In some countries, it takes more working hours to make a living. For some of the nations on this list, the workweek is nearly 50 hours long. Four of the five countries on the list with the longest hours are Latin American nations. (These are countries with the biggest income gaps.)

Meanwhile, in many of the more affluent countries, the average workweek for full-time employees is less than 40 hours. Countries like Denmark and the Netherlands, which have average salaries above $50,000, have among the shortest average workweeks. 

While the range of workweek length among countries on this list is 29.5 hours to 47.6 hours, the average workweek length in the United States is 38.7 hours, ranking 15th highest. The U.S. also has the 14th lowest unemployment rate of any country on the list and the highest average annual wages at $69,392. 

Click here to see how long the typical work week is around the world
Click here to read our detailed methodology

Source: Morsa Images / DigitalVision via Getty Images

35. Netherlands
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 29.5 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 32.1%
> Workforce that is part time: 36.9%
> Unemployment rate: 3.8%
> Avg. annual wages: $58,828

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Source: FlamingoImages / iStock via Getty Images

34. Denmark
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 32.5 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 11.4%
> Workforce that is part time: 18.6%
> Unemployment rate: 5.6%
> Avg. annual wages: $58,430

Source: Isbjorn / E+ via Getty Images

33. Norway
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 33.6 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 10.7%
> Workforce that is part time: 19.9%
> Unemployment rate: 4.4%
> Avg. annual wages: $55,780

Source: Sean Gallup / Getty Images News via Getty Images

32. Germany
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 34.3 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 50.0%
> Workforce that is part time: 22.0%
> Unemployment rate: 3.8%
> Avg. annual wages: $53,745

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Source: olli0815 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

31. Switzerland
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 34.6 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 59.6%
> Workforce that is part time: 26.7%
> Unemployment rate: 4.8%
> Avg. annual wages: $64,824

Source: SimonSkafar / E+ via Getty Images

30. Austria
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 35.5 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 48.3%
> Workforce that is part time: 19.7%
> Unemployment rate: 5.4%
> Avg. annual wages: $53,132

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Source: VEX Collective / iStock via Getty Images

29. Belgium
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 35.5 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 35.1%
> Workforce that is part time: 16.7%
> Unemployment rate: 5.5%
> Avg. annual wages: $54,327

Source: Ridofranz / iStock via Getty Images

28. Italy
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 35.5 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 58.7%
> Workforce that is part time: 17.9%
> Unemployment rate: 9.2%
> Avg. annual wages: $37,769

Source: PeopleImages / iStock via Getty Images

27. Ireland
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 35.6 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 41.0%
> Workforce that is part time: 19.1%
> Unemployment rate: 5.6%
> Avg. annual wages: $49,474

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Source: Drazen_ / E+ via Getty Images

26. Australia
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 35.7 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 42.7%
> Workforce that is part time: 25.5%
> Unemployment rate: 6.5%
> Avg. annual wages: $55,206

Source: Geber86 / E+ via Getty Images

25. Sweden
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 36.0 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 62.0%
> Workforce that is part time: 14.1%
> Unemployment rate: 8.3%
> Avg. annual wages: $47,020

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Source: Tero Vesalainen / iStock via Getty Images

24. Finland
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 36.3 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 37.7%
> Workforce that is part time: 14.1%
> Unemployment rate: 7.8%
> Avg. annual wages: $46,230

Source: SolStock / E+ via Getty Images

23. United Kingdom
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 36.3 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 44.5%
> Workforce that is part time: 22.4%
> Unemployment rate: 4.6%
> Avg. annual wages: $47,147

Source: Morsa Images / DigitalVision via Getty Images

22. Spain
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 36.4 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 63.5%
> Workforce that is part time: 12.5%
> Unemployment rate: 15.5%
> Avg. annual wages: $37,922

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Source: Bim / E+ via Getty Images

21. France
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 36.5 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 34.3%
> Workforce that is part time: 13.1%
> Unemployment rate: 8.0%
> Avg. annual wages: $45,581

Source: querbeet / E+ via Getty Images

20. Luxembourg
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 37.3 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 78.0%
> Workforce that is part time: 12.8%
> Unemployment rate: 6.8%
> Avg. annual wages: $65,854

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Source: nazar_ab / E+ via Getty Images

19. New Zealand
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 37.8 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 65.2%
> Workforce that is part time: 19.7%
> Unemployment rate: 4.6%
> Avg. annual wages: $45,269

Source: ablokhin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

18. Iceland
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 37.9 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 66.6%
> Workforce that is part time: 16.9%
> Unemployment rate: 5.5%
> Avg. annual wages: $67,488

Source: gorodenkoff / iStock via Getty Images

17. Estonia
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 37.9 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 83.0%
> Workforce that is part time: 10.2%
> Unemployment rate: 6.8%
> Avg. annual wages: $30,720

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Source: Jana_Janina / iStock via Getty Images

16. Greece
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 38.7 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 82.6%
> Workforce that is part time: 9.8%
> Unemployment rate: 16.3%
> Avg. annual wages: $27,207

Source: Brent Stirton / Getty Images News via Getty Images

15. United States
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 38.7 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: N/A
> Workforce that is part time: N/A
> Unemployment rate: 5.4%
> Avg. annual wages: $69,392

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Source: Marcus Lindstrom / E+ via Getty Images

14. Latvia
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 38.9 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 89.0%
> Workforce that is part time: 7.2%
> Unemployment rate: 8.1%
> Avg. annual wages: $29,876

Source: Michele Ursi / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

13. Lithuania
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 39.0 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 90.0%
> Workforce that is part time: 5.5%
> Unemployment rate: 8.5%
> Avg. annual wages: $31,811

Source: Halfpoint / iStock via Getty Images

12. Slovak Republic
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 39.2 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 75.6%
> Workforce that is part time: 4.5%
> Unemployment rate: 6.7%
> Avg. annual wages: $23,619

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Source: AzmanJaka / E+ via Getty Images

11. Slovenia
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 39.3 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 90.3%
> Workforce that is part time: 7.1%
> Unemployment rate: 5.0%
> Avg. annual wages: $41,445

Source: Octavio Passos / Getty Images News via Getty Images

10. Portugal
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 39.3 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 75.4%
> Workforce that is part time: 6.2%
> Unemployment rate: 6.8%
> Avg. annual wages: $28,410

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Source: joruba / iStock via Getty Images

9. Hungary
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 39.3 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 93.1%
> Workforce that is part time: 4.4%
> Unemployment rate: 4.3%
> Avg. annual wages: $25,409

Source: CharlieChesvick / E+ via Getty Images

8. Czech Republic
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 39.3 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 81.4%
> Workforce that is part time: 4.9%
> Unemployment rate: 2.5%
> Avg. annual wages: $29,885

Source: kotangens / iStock via Getty Images

7. Poland
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 39.6 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 90.2%
> Workforce that is part time: 5.8%
> Unemployment rate: 3.2%
> Avg. annual wages: $32,527

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Source: liorpt / iStock via Getty Images

6. Israel
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 40.6 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 73.8%
> Workforce that is part time: 14.3%
> Unemployment rate: 4.3%
> Avg. annual wages: $39,322

Source: Felipe Dupouy / DigitalVision via Getty Images

5. Chile
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 42.9 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 77.1%
> Workforce that is part time: 16.1%
> Unemployment rate: 10.8%
> Avg. annual wages: $26,729

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Source: Montes-Bradley / E+ via Getty Images

4. Costa Rica
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 43.9 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 73.1%
> Workforce that is part time: 17.7%
> Unemployment rate: 19.6%
> Avg. annual wages: N/A

Source: duckycards / E+ via Getty Images

3. Mexico
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 44.7 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 70.7%
> Workforce that is part time: 17.7%
> Unemployment rate: 4.5%
> Avg. annual wages: $16,230

Source: Chris McGrath / Getty Images News via Getty Images

2. Turkey
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 45.6 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 79.1%
> Workforce that is part time: 11.3%
> Unemployment rate: 13.1%
> Avg. annual wages: N/A

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Source: garytog / Getty Images

1. Colombia
> Average workweek (full-time employees): 47.6 hours
> Employees who worked at least 40 hours/week: 78.1%
> Workforce that is part time: 14.6%
> Unemployment rate: 16.1%
> Avg. annual wages: N/A

Methodology

To determine how long the average workweek is around the world, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data on the average hours usually worked among dependent employees in 2020 from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Data on the percentage of dependent employees who work part time — less than 30 hours a week — also came from the OECD and is for 2020. Additional data listed is all from the OECD and is for the most recent period available. All figures are annual except for unemployment figures, which are monthly. All data on employee hours and part-time work are for dependent employees, meaning it does not include self-employed workers.

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