Work: Excessive working hours are decreasing

Among those in employment in Germany, the burden of excessively long working hours is declining.

Work: Excessive working hours are decreasing

Among those in employment in Germany, the burden of excessively long working hours is declining. Of the approximately 30 million people with full-time jobs, 8.3 percent usually worked more than 48 hours a week last year, according to the Federal Statistical Office.

This is the lowest level since 1991. In 2021 it was still 8.9 percent of full-time employees. Last year, the average working time for full-time jobs was 40.4 hours a week.

Particularly long working hours are particularly common among the self-employed: if they employ people themselves, 48.2 percent of bosses are in the company for more than 48 hours. For solo self-employed, the rate is still 26.0 percent. Only one in 20 employees has to work more than 48 hours.

According to the German Working Hours Act, the daily working time for employees may average eight hours, and ten hours are also allowed on individual days. The rest periods between two working periods are also regulated. The exact working hours are regulated by the respective employment or collective agreements.

In the West German metal and electrical industry, for example, the 35-hour week applies to full-time employees. Additional overtime must be agreed. The self-employed and freelancers are not subject to the Working Hours Act. Exceptions have also been formulated for some senior professional groups.

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