New challenges could disrupt working time stability in Europe

Working time has remained relatively stable in the 21st century but
socio-demographic challenges and the ubiquitous nature of new technologies may
see significant changes in working time in the near future, according to a new
report from Eurofound, the EU Agency based in Dublin. Working time developments
in the 21st century reveals, for the first time, the development of working
time for full-time workers from a long-term perspective, examining the periods
before and after the economic crisis.

The report shows that, although there has been a general convergence in working
time between the EU15 and newer Member States, working times continue to vary
widely in Europe, with a number of different regimes in place to set working
times. A clear split can be seen in this regard, with collective bargaining
playing an important role in the older Member States, whereas in central and
eastern Member States working time standards are more likely to be established
through legislation.

The way working time is set has an impact on average working hours and the
phenomenon of ‘working time drift' - the difference between agreed hours and
the usual working time. Negotiated regimes, where collective bargaining plays a
stronger role, generally results in shorter working time and more compliance
with the agreed working hours. Throughout Europe men continue to work more paid
hours than women. This gap is most pronounced in newer Member States, although
it has been narrowing in recent years.

More Information - Source: Eurofound