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Factsheet:

Working hours and time off work

Resource summary

This factsheet was last updated in August 2016.

Trends in UK working hours

According to the Office for National Statistics, full-time workers in the UK average around 39.1 paid hours per week1 and in our Absence management 2015 survey report, in partnership with Simplyhealth, nearly half of employers said that long working hours are the norm in their organisation.

However, Megatrends report Are we working harder than ever? found that although employees feel they are working harder, it’s not because they are working longer hours. Average hours worked per year have been falling for decades. The proportion of employees that usually work over 45 hours each week has fallen from 26% in 1997 to under 20% in 2013.

According to our report Employment regulation and the labour market, the average weekly hours worked by employees in the UK is in line with the OECD average, although the UK does have a comparatively high proportion of long-hours jobs.

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  • Trends in UK working hours
  • The culture and impact of long-hours working
  • The legal position
  • Holidays
  • Flexible working 
  • Special leave
  • CIPD viewpoint
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  • References
  • Further reading

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