EU report: Czechs among hardest working Europeans

Blahoslav Hruška and Naďa Straková
8. 9. 2008 7:45
Gap between Western and Eastern Europe still big
Czechs work longer hours on average than most of Europeans
Czechs work longer hours on average than most of Europeans | Foto: Tomáš Adamec, Aktuálně.cz

Prague - The latest report by the European Foundation (Eurofound) for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions sends out a clear message - while the former EU15 states work less and have more holidays, the new member states work much longer for less vacation time.

The Eurofound report analyses the working time set by collective bargaining as well as actual working hours across the European Union. Since it began monitoring social policy making across the EU in 2003, the substantial gap in working time between the former EU15 states and the new member states seems to linger. 

Agreement vs reality

The average collectively agreed weekly working time in the European Union in 2007 stood at 38.6 hours, while the average working time in the EU15 was 37.9 hours that year (the same as in 2006), compared with 39.6 hours for the new member states (also unchanged from 2006).

Working hours per week
Actual working time hr/week Actual working time hr/year
Czech Rep 41.2 1710
Slovakia 39.9 1737.5
Poland 40.4 1848
Germany 41.1 1650.6
France 37.7 1568
Great Britain 41.4 1696.4
Bulgaria 41.7 1808
Average in EU 27 40.0 1743.1
Source: Eurofound

The report aso indicates that while the former EU15 countries are cutting down on collectively agreed working hours, the 40-hour work week remains the standard in the majority of the new member states. Exceptions to the 40-hour week are found only in Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, where agreed hours are closer to the EU15 average.

But the reality, naturally, differs. The actual weekly working hours are typically higher than the collectively bargained working time.

Bulgarian, Romanian and British full-time employees work the longest hours per week, followed by the Czech Republic (41.2), while the lowest levels are reported in France, Italy and Denmark.

Holidays in Europe

The average number of fully paid holidays in Europe is 25.2 days per year. While the average in the EU15 and Norway stands at 26.7 days, with great differences between Sweden (33 days) and Greece (23 days), the new states have considerably lower numbers of paid holidays.

Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Romania and Slovakia have 21.9 days of paid leave on average per year. The figures of the rest of the new member states are unknown.

Source: Eurofound

 

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Zdroj: ČTK
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