Irish have second shortest working week in Europe

 

IRISH EMPLOYEES had a shorter working week than everyone else in the EU apart from the Danes last year, according to new data. Irish full-time employees spent an average of 38.4 hours in the workplace, two hours fewer than the EU average.

The figures from the EU’s statistical agency, Eurostat, show that those in the education sector had the shortest working week, putting in just 31.5 hours. This was six hours below the EU average for the sector and slightly below the time spent at work in 2008.

Only in Greece and Italy do education sector workers have shorter working weeks than their Irish counterparts. Hours are longer in the other 24 EU member countries, with British teachers putting in the longest weeks – at more than 42 hours.

In all other sectors, including public administration and health, Irish employees are much closer to EU averages in their respective sectors in terms of hours worked per week.

Employees in the agricultural sector worked longest – more than 42.5 hours a week.

Irish employees in the aggregate have barely changed the number of hours worked since the recession began. In 2008, the average working week was less than half an hour longer. This is in line with patterns elsewhere.

The working hours gap between the sexes in Ireland is the second largest among the 27 EU countries, according to Eurostat’s Labour Force Survey. Salaried Irish men work 3.5 hours more than women. Only in Britain is the gap bigger. The average gap between the sexes across the EU is 1.8 hours. Men work longer hours in paid employment in every country without exception.

The self-employed in Ireland work much longer hours than their salaried counterparts. Self-employed people put in 48 hours a week on average last year, in line with the EU average.

Across Europe, Lithuanian entrepreneurs laboured least, doing a 42-hour week. Their Austrian counterparts were at the other end of the spectrum, working for 55 hours a week.

The figures show no north-south divide in Europe in hours worked, either among salaried employees or the self-employed.

The figures also show Irish employees are less likely to be on limited duration contracts than their counterparts in Europe. One in 10 employees was employed on such contracts last year. The average across the bloc was 50 per cent higher. In Spain and Poland more than one in four people was employed on such contracts.

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