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World's shortest work weeks

Americans work an average of 38 hours a week, even after factoring in part-time jobs. Here are 10 industrialized nations where workers have shorter hours.


shortest work week germany
  • Average hours per week: 35
  • Average annual wages: $40,000

Part-time work was already becoming increasingly common in Germany over time, but became even more so during the Great Recession.

As of 2012, about 1 in 4 German workers were on part-time schedules.

Germany has had work-sharing programs in place for decades, but made a special push amid the global economic crisis to persuade more employers to reduce hours, as an alternative to laying off workers. As part of the policy, known as Kurzarbeit in German, the government partially reimburses workers for their lost wages.

Work sharing is partly credited with saving jobs and lowering the country's unemployment rate. Germany's unemployment was recently around 5%, whereas it remains above 7% in the United States.

Source: OECD. Data reflect wage and salary workers, not the self-employed.
- Last updated July 10 2013 01:07 PM ET

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