60-hour work week in Pakistan: Know which countries have longest and shortest work weeks
Newly elected Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in one of his first decisions on Tuesday, announced a six-day working week of 10 hours each day for government offices to tackle rising inflation.
With 60 working hours per week, Pakistan now has one of the longest working hours for government offices in the world. In fact, Pakistan is going against the tide in this regard, for there has been an increasing demand for shorter working hours, and many countries are also experimenting with the same.
Though the average working week in most countries is of 40 hours, it also depends on the sector or industry one works in. According to Penn World Table, Cambodia in Southeast Asia has the longest average working hours of 47.6 per week. Cambodia is followed by Myanmar (47.1), Bangladesh (46.5), Singapore (44.8) and Malaysia (42.3).
However, as per a report released by International Labour Organization in December 2021, India has an average work week of 48 hours.
On the other hand, according to OECD data, Germany has the shortest weekly working hours at 25.6, followed by Denmark (25.9), United Kingdom (26.29), Norway (26.3) and Netherlands (26.9). Incidentally, Denmark, Norway and Netherlands rank high on the happiness index.
Determining the average working hours in a given country can be challenging due to differing definitions of what qualifies as work and who is considered a worker. However, with enough data, trends do emerge. And trends show that high-income countries tend to have shorter working hours compared to middle-income and developing countries.
No wonder then while the list of countries with longest working hours is dominated by Asian countries, that with the shortest working hours comprise mostly European nations.
On the other hand, several countries have introduced or have experimented with a four-day work week. UAE rang in the new year with a four-and-a-half-day work week, and Belgium became the latest country to jump on the bandwagon. Iceland, Scotland, Sweden, Spain, and some companies in Germany and Japan are also experimenting with a four-day work week.
Top 10 countries with longest work week (in hours — Penn World Table, 2019 data)
1. Cambodia — 47.6
2. Myanmar — 47.1
3. Bangladesh — 46.5
4. Singapore — 44.8
5. Malaysia — 42.3
6. South Africa — 42.1
7. China — 41.7
8. Philippines — 41.7
9. Hong Kong (China SAR) — 41.3
10. Dominican Republic — 41.2
Top 10 countries with shortest work week (in hours — OCED, 2020 data)
1. Germany — 25.6
2. Denmark — 25.9
3. UK – 26.29
4. Norway — 26.3
5. Netherlands — 26.9
6. Austria – 26.92
7. France – 26.96
8. Sweden – 27.38
9. Luxembourg – 27.44
10. Iceland – 27.59