‘UK does longest hours in EU, but is often less productive’

UK workers do the longest hours in the EU, according to TUC analysis.


UK workers are still working the longest hours in the EU and are often less productive, according to a new TUC analysis.

It shows full-time employees in Britain worked an average of 42 hours a week in 2018, nearly two hours more than the EU average and that full-time hours have fallen by just 18 minutes a week in the last decade.

The research also shows workers are much more productive for each hour they work in other EU economies. The TUC says, for example, that full-time employees in Germany work 1.8 hours a week less than those in the UK but are 14.6% more productive. And in Denmark – the EU country with the shortest hours – it says workers put in over four hours less than UK workers, but productivity in Denmark is 23.5% higher.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Britain’s long hours culture is nothing to be proud of. It’s robbing workers of a decent home life and time with their loved ones. Overwork, stress and exhaustion have become the new normal.

“It’s time for a change. Other countries have shown that reducing working hours isn’t only good for workers, it can boost productivity.

“As new technology changes our economy, the benefits should be shared by working people. That means shorter hours, more time with family and friends, and decent pay for everyone.”

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