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Published: 2 week

Working less - the average working week in the EU is getting shorter every year

The average number of hours actually worked per week in the EU in 2023 was 36.1 hours, almost 2 hours less than 15 years ago. Part-time work, especially for women, is a factor in this trend. Hungary is also following the European trend, points out a recent article by the Oeconomus Economic Research Foundation.

The key findings of the article in the Oeconomus Economic Research:

  • The longest weekly working hours in 2023 were in Greece (39.8 hours) and Romania (39.5 hours) and Poland (39.3 hours), the shortest in the Netherlands (32.2 hours), followed by Austria (33.6) and Germany (34.0)
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  • The actual hours worked per week in Hungary was 37.8 hours last year, placing it in the middle of the EU.

  • At the EU level, there are several breaks in the number of hours worked per week, with eastern and southern Member States having a higher average number of hours worked per week than western or northern countries. Part-time employment plays an important role in this: in Western countries, part-time employment is more prevalent, especially among women.

  • On average in the EU, part-time workers worked an average of 21.7 hours a week last year, while full-time workers worked an average of 39 hours a week.

  • In the EU in 2023, men in full-time employment worked 39.8 hours a week, while women in the same group worked 2 hours less, 37.8 hours. In Hungary, the gender gap in working time was low: men worked on average 0.8 hours (48 minutes) more per week than women (in full-time employment).

According to Eurostat, in 2023, the average number of hours actually worked per week in the European Union by persons aged 20-64 in full-time employment was 36.1 hours, which is shorter than in 2022 (36.4 hours on average).

In Hungary, the actual weekly working time was 37.8 hours last year, putting the country in the middle of the EU average. In Hungary, we worked more hours per week than the EU average, but the average working week was shorter at regional level. Only Slovakia (37.6 hours) and Estonia (36.4 hours) worked fewer hours than Hungarians at regional level.

Compared to 2022, the number of hours actually worked per week decreased in most Member States, including Hungary, except in Cyprus, Croatia, the Czech Republic and Greece, where the working week increased - while in Belgium, Lithuania and Malta it remained unchanged over a year.

For the EU as a whole, 17% of workers worked part-time in 2023, while 83% worked full-time; with significant variation between member states. The Netherlands had the highest proportion of part-time workers (39%), followed by Austria (30%) and Germany (28%) - which explains the \"ranking\" - with part-time employment being more common in Western countries. By contrast, Bulgaria (1%), Romania (3%) and Slovakia (3%) have the lowest share of part-time workers.

Greece introduces six-day working week - read our previous article!

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