Work-Life Balance Across the Globe

In the realm of paid vacation days, American workers often find themselves with fewer days off compared to their international counterparts. Surprisingly, there’s no federally-mandated number of paid vacation days in the American business landscape. Another telling metric to assess a country’s work culture is the number of hours worked per week or year.

The figures paint an intriguing picture. German workers, for instance, typically clock in fewer than 1,400 hours annually, a number that falls just below that of Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland, and Austria, all hovering just over 1,400 hours. In contrast, French workers, often cited as examples of a less work-centric culture, average around 1,500 hours yearly—almost identical to their counterparts in the UK.

Canadian and Japanese workers are somewhat more likely to be found at the office, putting in an average of 1,700 hours annually, akin to their counterparts in Portugal and Italy. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Mexican workers top the chart with over 2,250 hours of annual work, while in Korea, workers dedicate roughly 2,000 hours to their jobs. It’s worth noting that Korea’s workaholic reputation may soon change; the National Assembly recently voted to trim the workweek from a staggering 68 hours down to a still-demanding 52.

So, where does the United States fit into this global spectrum? On average, American workers spend approximately 1,800 hours at work each year, a figure that closely aligns with the working hours in the Czech Republic and Poland. This workload is lighter than that of Turkey, Israel, Greece, Chile, and Russia.