Want a short work week? You can’t do much better than Denmark
Workers in Denmark put in fewer hours than almost everyone else in the EU.
Published: 18 January 2017 09:56 CET
The typical worker in Denmark has plenty of time for ice skating and other leisure activities. Photo: Jonas Smith / Copenhagen Media Center
Denmark’s work-life balance is often cited as a key element in the nation’s happiness, a major factor in the country’s appeal to foreign workers and even a marketing tool that employers should use to attract the best and brightest minds to the country.
So perhaps it comes as little surprise that a new analysis from Statistics Denmark shows that Danes work among the shortest hours in the EU.
According to the statistics bureau, full-time employees in Denmark work an average of 39.6 hours per week, which is 1.4 hours lower than the EU28 average of 41 hours.
For most employees who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, a standard full-time work week is 37.5 hours in Denmark.
Statistics Denmark said that the fact that the Danish average lies above the full-time standard is largely due to self-employed workers, who tend to put in longer hours. When only considering salaried employees, the Danish average is 38.6 hours per week.
Only workers in France and Slovakia put in fewer hours. At the other end of the spectrum are the Greeks, who lead the EU with an average work week of 44 hours.
The analysis also found that across the EU, men work longer hours than women. In Denmark, the gap was 2.8 hours per week, which was just slightly above the average of 2.6 additional hours for men.
The statistics were based on surveys of 15 to 64-year-olds conducted in the third quarter of 2016 across all 28 EU countries.
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