Working Time in the EU

Stock.xchngEurofound has just published the report, “Working Time in the EU.” According to the report, the number of hours worked per week in the EU continues to drift downwards, on average, as a result of more people working part time, fewer people working long hours, and a fall in the collectively agreed working hours in many countries.

In 1991, the average working week in the then 12 Member States (former EC12) was 40.5 hours long; in 2010, in the same 12 Member States, it had gone down to 36.4 hours. In the EU27 in 2010, it was 37.5 hours long.

Here’s a roundup of the report’s key findings:

 – Standard working time arrangements – a 5-day week of 40 hours, worked Monday to Friday is still the norm for most Europeans.

- Almost one-fifth of European workers are having difficulties achieving a satisfactory work–life balance, a slight decrease since 2000.

- The use of flexi-time has increased in European companies since 2004.

- Working time accounts, where hours can be banked to allow full days to be taken off, have the potential to further boost flexibility for both employers and employees.

- Part-time work is widely used across Europe, most notably in theNetherlands.

- Overtime, compensated for by monetary payments, is the most traditional company strategy for meeting temporary peaks in demand.

- On average, around half of all self-employed workers work long hours – more than 48 per week.

- Over the course of the recession, many Member States extended or introduced publicly financed short-time working and temporary layoff schemes in response to falling demand.

 The full report is available online