Which countries have the longest and the shortest work weeks?

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jul10,2024
Greece introduced a six-day work week for certain industries this month, prompting strong criticism from unions in the country.
Under legislation , employers can now choose whether to extend the work week to six days — from 40 hours to the European Union limit of 48.
For comparison, Australia’s average work week is just over 32 hours, according to International Labour Organization (ILO) data collected from 150 countries over the past few years.
Globally, the average work week is closer to 40 hours.
At one extreme, Bhutan holds the record for the longest work week globally, at 54.4 hours per week, according to the ILO.

While at the other, workers in the Pacific island nation of Kiribati enjoy the shortest work week at just 27.2 hours.

A bar graph showing that industrialised countries have work weeks closer in length to the world's lowest (Kirabati) than to the highest (Bhutan)

Source: SBS News

Australia’s working hours compared to OECD countries

Comparing Australia’s work week to other developed economies within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) offers further perspective.
Australia’s closest OECD neighbour, New Zealand, has a similar average work week of 33 hours.

The United States has the longest work week among OECD countries, with workers averaging 37.8 hours.

An infographic showing how Australia's average weekly work hours compare to other OECD countries

France follows at 36 hours, then Canada (35.3 hours), the United Kingdom (35 hours), and Germany (just under 34 hours).

Another leading OECD nation, Japan, has a significantly shorter work week, averaging 32.3 hours.

Countries with the longest and shortest work weeks

Just below Bhutan, the United Arab Emirates comes in at 50.9 hours, according to the ILO data.
Sudan follows closely at 50.7 hours, and the small African nation of Lesotho rounds out the top three at 50.3 hours.
And just above Kiribati, the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu averages 28.57 hours of work per week.

Rwanda in Africa is just above that with 31.09 hours, with the Netherlands (31.3 hours) and Somalia (31.4 hours) also having relatively short work weeks.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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