Saturday, April 13, 2024

10 Countries With the World’s Shortest Workweeks

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Port Vila, Vanuatu
Martin Valigursky / Shutterstock.com

Work, work, work. Busy, busy, busy. Seems like nowadays many of us are running here, running there, with always something to do or some place to be. And it seems like our jobs are taking more and more of our time.

But what if a large chunk of your working life was gone? What if that 40, 50 or even 60 hours per week were cut in half? Might be tough to make ends meet — but it all depends on where you live.

The International Labour Organization has determined how many hours people work, on average, around the world. The ILO notes that “workers should have access to a minimum desirable number of hours of work” to earn enough money to pay for what they and their families need.

Following are the countries where people work the fewest hours on average. For comparison’s sake, the United States averages 36.4 hours per workweek.

10. Micronesia

Weno, Federated States of Micronesia
Rob Atherton / Shutterstock.com

Average number of hours an employed person in this country works: 30.4 per week

Share of the employed in this country who work 49 or more hours per week: 11%

Commercial fishing is the main economic sector in the Federated States of Micronesia, which is comprised of several hundred islands in the western Pacific Ocean, and more than 70% of employees are in the public sector.

9. Iraq

Baghdad, Iraq
Rasool Ali / Shutterstock.com

Average number of hours an employed person in this country works: 30.3 per week

Share of the employed in this country who work 49 or more hours per week: 5%

The amount of people working in the agricultural sector in Iraq dipped below 20% in 2021 for the first time since at least 2011, with nearly 59% working in the service sector and 21% in the industrial sector.

8. France

Paris, France
dade72 / Shutterstock.com

Average number of hours an employed person in this country works: 30.1 per week

Share of the employed in this country who work 49 or more hours per week: 9%

There are some definite perks to being a French worker — at least five paid weeks of vacation per year plus 11 national holidays, the legal right to not be contacted by your boss after hours (at least for some employees), and a 35-hour workweek for blue-collar workers enacted into law in 2000.

7. Somalia

Mogadishu, Somalia
hamza sulub / Shutterstock.com

Average number of hours an employed person in this country works: 30.1 per week

Share of the employed in this country who work 49 or more hours per week: 11%

More than half of jobs in this African country on the Indian Ocean are in the services sector, and about a quarter of workers are employed in the agricultural sector.

6. Ethiopia

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Eric Isselee / Shutterstock.com

Average number of hours an employed person in this country works: 29.8 per week

Share of the employed in this country who work 49 or more hours per week: 20%

Ethiopia has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with gross domestic product gains of 5% to 6% per year even throughout the pandemic. The gross domestic product per capita — a measure to estimate each person’s economic output — grew 11% from 2021 to 2022, to $1,028.

5. Austria

Vienna, Austria
BABAROGA / Shutterstock.com

Average number of hours an employed person in this country works: 29.5 per week

Share of the employed in this country who work 49 or more hours per week: 8%

This landlocked European nation had the 32nd-largest gross domestic product in the world in 2022 with $471 billion, which was an increase of 5% year-over-year.

4. Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda
Jennifer Sophie / Shutterstock.com

Average number of hours an employed person in this country works: 28.8 per week

Share of the employed in this country who work 49 or more hours per week: 12%

Economic indicators merit optimism in this African nation, according to an evaluation in September by global credit rating agency Moody’s. The Rwandan economy grew 9.2% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2023, with air transport and telecommunications services increasing 28% and 43%, respectively.

3. Mozambique

Maputo, Mozambique
hbpro / Shutterstock.com

Average number of hours an employed person in this country works: 28.6 per week

Share of the employed in this country who work 49 or more hours per week: 19%

The gross domestic product of this nation of nearly 33 million on the southeastern coast of Africa is $19.9 billion (in U.S. dollars) as of 2023, according to the International Monetary Fund. The gross national income per capita was $500 as of 2022.

2. Kiribati

Tarawa, Kiribati
Kyung Muk Lim / Shutterstock.com

Average number of hours an employed person in this country works: 27.3 per week

Share of the employed in this country who work 49 or more hours per week: N/A

This nation, consisting of 33 islands in the central Pacific Ocean, had a gross domestic product per capita of $1,434 (in U.S. dollars) in 2022.

1. Vanuatu

Port Vila, Vanuatu
Martin Valigursky / Shutterstock.com

Average number of hours an employed person in this country works: 24.7 per week

Share of the employed in this country who work 49 or more hours per week: 4%

In March 2023, this island nation of just over 300,000 people in an area roughly the size of Connecticut scored a huge win for its economy, way of life and maybe even its existence.

The country led an effort to secure a landmark United Nations resolution that calls on the International Court of Justice to increase obligations of the nations of the world to curb global warming and protect communities from climate catastrophes.

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