Swedes work shortest hours in Europe

Swedes work shortest hours in Europe
Photo: Göran Assner/Visit Sweden/imagebanksweden.se
Swedes work fewer hours than any other nationality in Europe, according to a new EU survey. Swedish workers have more paid vacation than any other Europeans and work shorter weeks all but three nationalities.

According to the report, from the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, the average length of Swedish employees’ annual leave is 33 days.

Germans and Danes get an average of 30 days leave, Britons 24.6 days, and Estonians only 20 days. Add in public holidays, and Swedes have 42 days off

every year, in contrast to Estonians, who get just 26 days – a difference of more than three working weeks.

The figures, based on the average amount of vacation laid out in each country’s collective agreements.

When Swedes are not on holiday, they spend less time at work than people from most other countries. The average length of time Swedes spent at work was 38.5 hours a week, compared to an average of 42.1 hours in Latvia, 40.8 hours in Germany and 40.7 in the UK.

Swedes work longer hours than the Belgians and the Finns. The only other nationality to work less than the Swedes is the French. Although slightly exceeding their famous 35 hour maximum working week, the French still bring up the bottom of the table at 37.6 hours.

Long holidays and short working weeks add up to Swedes working some of the shortest hours in Europe. While Germans worked for a total of 1,656 hours in 2005, the last year for which figures were available, Swedes worked just 1,519.