American workers typically get fewer paid vacation days than their counterparts in other countries—and, indeed, there is no federally-mandated number of paid vacation days in the American business ecosystem. But another way to measure the ‘workaholism’ of a country’s working population is the number of hours they work per week or year.
The numbers are surprising. Workers in Germany typically work fewer than 1,400 hours a year, which is slightly below Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland and Austria (all just over 1,400 hours). French workers, who are constantly held up as an example non-workaholism, work roughly 1,500 hours a year, on average, which is almost exactly the same as in the UK. Canadian and Japanese workers are a bit more likely to be seen at the office; they average 1,700 hours a year, similar to Portugal and Italy.
At the other end of the spectrum, Mexican workers average more than 2,250 hours of work a year, and in Korea, workers are in the office or otherwise toiling for roughly 2,000 hours. Korea’s workaholic status is likely to change in the next survey, however; its National Assembly recently voted to cut the workweek from 68 hours (!) down to ‘just’ 52.
Where does the United States fall on this spectrum? The average American worker spends about 1,800 hours at work, roughly the same as workers in the Czech Republic and Poland, fewer hours than Turkey, Israel, Greece, Chile and Russia.
This article was written by an independent writer for Brewster Financial Planning LLC and is not intended as individualized legal or investment advice.