The latest review of working time developments by the Eurofound research agency notes increased debates around the issue of working time reduction but few examples of where this has been implemented in practice. It reports on a couple of examples of shorter working hours in the private and non-profit health and social care sectors in Austria and a municipal company in Portugal. The public sector agreement in Lithuania includes additional day’s leave for education and training while national legislation there now allows for a 32-hour/four-day week for state and municipal employees who have children under the age of three. The report found that while the usual working week for full-time employees stood at 39.8 hours in 2022, the average collectively agreed normal full-time working week in the EU was 38.1 hours. In a comparison of sectors it also revealed the collectively agreed normal working week was shortest in public administration (37.7 hours) and longest in retail (38.5 hours).
Report finds few examples of shorter working time
More like this
The latest biennial report from the Eurofound research agency finds that there have not been any significant developments in working time across Europe. The average working week remains at 38 hours. Public administration is one of the specific sectors analysed where weekly hours averaged 37.6 in both 2018 and 2017. The report noted some specific sector developments with particularly negative legislation passed in Hungary affecting public administration allowing for longer hours and more flexibility. More positive agreements were noted in Estonia (health) and Greece (local government and waste)
The International Labour Organisation has published a new report on working time and work-life balance that reviews working hours and working time arrangements and their effects on workers' work-life balance. It finds that over one-third of all workers are regularly working more than 48 hours per week, while a fifth of the global workforce is at the opposite end of the spectrum working short (part-time) hours less than 35 per week. The report concludes with a summary of the key findings which suggest the need to promote reduced working time and offer flexible working time arrangements, such as
(April 2017) Trade unions have negotiated a one-hour cut to the working week without loss of pay. The standard working week will now be 42 hours although there is a prospect for a further cut to 41.5 hours in upcoming negotiations in the public sector. The initiative recognises that standard working hours are longer than most countries and action is needed to improve work-life balance.