Working hours in Czechia are above EU average

Unions call for reducing working hours

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: EuroZprávy.cz, Czech News Agency

The average full-time working time in the Czech Republic is gradually decreasing. In the last ten years, it dropped almost an hour a week. Nevertheless, people work an average of 41.3 hours a week, thus working more than half an hour longer than the average EU worker, Eurostat data revealed.

Unions have been calling for reducing working hours for several years. They point out that the average Czech spends much more hours at work than his colleague from Germany, the Netherlands, or Denmark. According to trade unionists, people in the Czech Republic will work a few extra years during their working careers in comparison with colleagues from Western countries. Therefore, they have less time to rest, which can also have negative health effects.

The eight-hour workday has been in place for over a hundred years in the Czech Republic as it was enacted shortly after the establishment of Czechoslovakia in December 1918.

In 2011, full-time employees in the Czech Republic worked an average of 42.2 hours per week. The EU average was then 41.4 hours. Since then, time at work has decreased.

In 2015, it lasted an average of 41.8 hours in the Czech Republic and last year it was 41.3 hours per week. In the EU, employees worked an average of 40.7 hours a week last year. People in Denmark worked for 38.4 hours, in Norway 38.7 hours, in Finland and Lithuania 39.9 hours, in Slovakia 40.9 hours, in Germany 40.6 hours.

The total average weekly working time, including part-time work, lasted 39.9 hours in the Czech Republic last year. The average of the 27 EU member states was 37 hours. In 2011, the average weekly working time, taking into account part-time work, was 37.6 hours. In the Czech Republic, even on a part-time basis, 41.1 hours were worked.

The high number of hours indicates a small extension of part-time jobs. In the Netherlands, where the proportion of people with part-time work is high, the average time worked per week was 30.3 hours last year.

Only part-time Czechs or Czechs worked an average of 21.7 hours last year. Ten years ago it was 21.5 hours. 

Men in the Czech Republic worked full-time for an average of 41.9 hours a week last year, while women worked 40.4 hours a week.

The government’s Social Democrats recently came up with a proposal to reduce working hours by 2.5 hours a week, and it now one of their proposals for the upcoming elections. About four months remain until parliamentary elections, so the law has little chance of being adopted.

According to a study by the Research Institute of Labor and Social Affairs on shortening working hours, work can be reduced not only by cutting hours but also by extending leave or reducing overtime. Experts now do not recommend a widespread reduction of work by 2.5 hours per week. According to the study, this could widen regional disparities and increase costs. It is necessary to prepare for the change in advance so that the labor shortage can be compensated. The cuts would support the transition to higher value-added production, automation, and robotics, the study said.

Title image: Workers leave the Skoda car factory in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

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