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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 belgium
  • Average hours per week: 35
  • Average annual wages: $44,000

Belgium wants to prevent workers from getting burnt out.

That's why the government created "career breaks." Every Belgian worker is entitled to a one-year break during their working lifetime. During this time off, the worker receives an allowance from the government.

Belgian law also entitles workers to 15 weeks maternity leave, 10 days paternity leave, and in addition to that, up to three months parental leave, which can be taken in short increments up to a child's 12th birthday.

Belgians work an average of 35 hours a week, and over an entire year, average about 210 fewer hours than American workers.

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

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