Do Danes want to cut their weekly working hours?

The Local Denmark
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Do Danes want to cut their weekly working hours?
Photo: IgorTishenko/Depositphotos"

One in seven people who work in Denmark would like to work fewer hours in a week, according to national statistics.


Denmark’s standard working week is 37.5 hours – already a little less than countries such as the United Kingdom and United States, where a 40-hour week is generally considered the norm.

In the past, Nordic neighbours Sweden and Finland have seen some discussion of a four-day week or six-hour working day, although in neither country is it government policy and such a move appears a long way off in both cases.

READ ALSO: Why Sweden is a long way from six-hour days

While Denmark has had even less talk of reducing the standard working week, Danish workers would prefer to cut back slightly on their total weekly hours spent at their jobs, according to Statistics Denmark data.

People at the typical age for starting a family and people with university education are among the groups which particularly expressed a desire to reduce working hours.

A total of 382,000 people currently in work – around 16 percent of all working people in the country – said in a Statistics Denmark survey that they would prefer to work fewer hours, the agency writes in a press release.

Employees and self-employed people, as well as part-time and full-time workers, were all included in the research.

In the 35-44 years age group, as many as 19 percent – 98,000 people -- said they would prefer to work fewer hours than their current load.

“The preference for working less goes up a notch when people reach the age of 35, which is an age at which many are starting families or have small children,” Statistics Denmark clerk Martin Faris Sawaed Nielsen.

Denmark’s average ages for first-time parents are 31 for women and 33 for men.

“There are also many people in the 45-54 and 55-64 age groups who want to reduce their working hours. After this, the percentage drops markedly, with work and family commitments typically taking up less time,” Nielsen said.

People with university backgrounds (lange videregående uddannelser) are also above the average for expressing a preference for reducing work hours, at 21 percent.

Seven percent of those involved in the study – 190,000 working people – said they would like to work more hours than they currently do.

READ ALSO: What's it like to work in Denmark as a foreigner? Here's what you told us


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