08/03/2011

European workers spend more time at work

The actual working week of full-time employees was longer than the average
normal collectively agreed working week in almost all EU Member States in 2010,
according to Eurofound's latest annual update of working time developments.
This effectively reverses the trend, visible since 2006, of a narrowing gap
between actual and collectively agreed working hours. The report also finds
that average annual leave entitlements combined with public holidays in the add
up to an EU average of 35 days; however, but the difference between countries
at the two ends of the leave spectrum is huge - almost two-and-a-half working
weeks.

Working time developments 2010 looks at a number of aspects of working time in
the European Union and Norway in 2010, and it provides a general overview of
the present state of play and recent developments. Collective agreements set
the working time conditions for an average of three quarters of all workers
across the European Union, with large differences between countries.
'Collective bargaining remains an important role in determining the duration of
working time in most of the countries, though to a lesser or sometimes
negligible extent in some of the new Member States that joined the EU in 2004
and 2007,' says Juan Menéndez-Valdés, Eurofound's Director.

Across the EU27, the average agreed working week was 38 hours long in 2010, an
increase of 0.1 hours in relation to the 37.9 recorded in 2009, 38.6 hours in
2008 and 2007. In the 12 new Member States (NMS), the working week remained at
39.7 hours, which means that the gap between older and newer Member States was
slightly reduced from 2.2 to 2.1 hours in 2010. The average collectively agreed
working week in the EU15 was 37.6 hours, an increase of 0.1 hours in relation
to 2009.

The manufacturing sector recorded the longest average agreed normal working
work, at 37.6 hours (metalworking), followed by public sector (local
government, 37.5 hours) and the services sector (banking, 37.3 hours). The
agreed working week is higher in all three sectors in the NMS than in the
former EU15 Member States. The largest gap is in the banking sector, in which
the normal agreed working week in the NMS is 3.1 hours longer than in the EU15.
In the local government and metalworking sectors, the gap is 2.7 hours and 2.4
hours respectively.

In the EU27, the actual working week was 39.7 hours in 2010, 1.7 hours longer
than the agreed working week. In the EU15 it was 39.4 hours, 1.8 hours more
than the agreed hours. Meanwhile in the NMS, it was 39.9 hours, 0.2 hours
longer than the agreed working week for that group of countries. The longest
actual working weeks, for full-time employees in their main jobs in 2010, were
in Romania (41.3 hours), followed by Luxembourg, the UK, Poland, Germany,
Bulgaria, Estonia and the Czech Republic. The shortest actual working week was
in Finland (37.8 hours). This was 3.5 hours more than in Romania, giving
Romanians a working week that was longer by 9.24%. And in 2010, the actual
weekly hours of male employees working full time in their main jobs continued
to exceed those of their female counterparts in all countries considered.

An important factor in the overall duration of working time is the amount of
paid annual leave to which workers are entitled. Across all the countries of
the EU27 (and Norway) for which data are available, the average collectively
agreed entitlement is 25.4 days. Agreed annual leave entitlement in the EU15
varies from 30 days in Denmark and Germany to 25 days in Finland, France,
the Netherlands (and Norway) to 24.6 days in the UK and 24 in Ireland. In the
Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Slovakia and Romania, the average
collectively agreed paid annual leave is 24.1 days.

The number of public holidays (excluding those falling on Sundays) varied
across the EU in 2010, from 14 in Spain to five in the Netherlands. The average
figure for the EU27 was 9.6 public holidays, with the NMS having, on average,
fewer (8.7 days) than the EU15 (9.9). The combined total of agreed annual leave
and public holidays varied in the EU from 40 days in Germany and Denmark to 27
days in Romania - a difference of around 48% or two-and-a-half Romanian working
weeks. The average figure for the EU27 was 34.4 days - 35.7 days in the EU15
and 29.6 days in the NMS.

More information


AplusA-online.de - Source: Eurofound