“Over the last century, you’ve seen a reduction from very long working hours – nearly 3,000 a year at the beginning of the 1900s – to the turn of the 21st Century when most developing countries were under 1,800 hours,” says Messenger. “And indeed some of the most productive countries were even lower than that.”
A look at the average annual hours worked per person in selected countries puts South Korea top with a whopping 2,193 hours, followed by Chile on 2,068.
British workers clock up 1,647 hours and Germans 1,408 – putting them at the bottom of the table, above only the Netherlands.
**The United States is at 1,695.
Greek workers have had a bad press recently but, as we reported in February, they work longer hours than any other Europeans. Their average of 2,017 hours a year puts them third in the international ranking, based on figures compiled by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
“…the US is the only developed country that has no legal or contractual or collective requirement to provide any minimum amount of annual leave,” he says.
The UK, in contrast, is subject to the European working time directive, which requires at least four weeks of paid annual leave for every employee.
Here is a screenshot of all 34 OECD countries. Click to the BBC to see the interactive version that shows each country’s hours worked.