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Time for a four-day week? Brits work longest hours in the EU

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The UK’s “long-hours culture” remains firmly entrenched, with British workers putting in the longest hours in the EU.

The average full-time employee in the UK worked 42 hours a week in 2018, nearly two hours more than the EU average and the equivalent of an extra two and a half weeks a year, according to the TUC.

However, Brits are still lagging other EU countries when it comes to productivity.

Full-time employees in Germany, for example, work 1.8 hours a week less but are 14.6% more productive.

And in Denmark – the EU country with the shortest hours – workers put in over four hours less than UK workers, but productivity in Denmark is 23.5% higher.

According to the TUC,  the average full-time week in Britain has shortened by just 18 minutes over the past decade.

At current rates of progress it would take 63 years for UK workers to get the same amount of free time as their European counterparts.

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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