The Average U.S. Work Week Is Nearly 6 Days
When International Business Times suggested the work week seems like it's dragging on longer than usual, they weren't kidding. The average American is now working an average of 47 hours per week, essentially working six days per week.
In comparison, the nation with the shortest work week, the Netherlands, averages 29 hours per week with an average income of $47,000, notes CNN Money. Full-time Americans roughly averaged $40,000 in 2013 according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics breakout.
Several factors shape the American schedule. Hourly workers only earn when they are on the clock, so they have obvious intentions to stay longer. What makes this puzzling is that hourly employees average 44 hours worked per week.
Yet, salaried employees tend to average five hours longer. What has become the norm for many salaried employees, 25 percent of the Gallup poll claimed to work more than 60 hours in the week. This may come from companies knowing they don't have to pay overtime to their salaried workforce. From the perspective of the employee, America's hard-working image could almost be seen as a badge of honor to some of the marathon workers out there.
When looking at countries with the least hours worked in a week, factors like four-day work weeks, extended paternity leaves and government mandated work-life balance measures stand out.
The Dutch also put an emphasis on working mothers. The importance of family is evident when 86 percent of working mothers in the Netherlands put in 34 hours or less a week at their vocations. Another factor changing in some countries like Ireland (34 hours per week, a 10-hour decline in the past 30 years), is the sharp drop off in full-time farmers, an industry notorious for one of the longest work days. Other countries rounding out the top five were Denmark, Norway and Germany with 33-35 hours each.
In most of these countries you will find other benefits like paid vacations and work-sharing programs, a concept that soared in popularity during Germany's recession. In America, companies are beginning to pay employees to take vacations so they will leave the office. It's hard to tell if this is a growing American problem or if it is too far engrained into American psyches that this is the work-life balance we mostly accept. Even though there are less employed full-time than in 2007, the non-stop work mentality has not wavered much in the United States.