Spain could potentially become one of the first countries in the world to have a four-day workweek, could the rest of the world soon follow? The US is among the most overworked nations and #1 for the fewest vacation days.
A small left-wing Spanish political party known as Más País presented a proposal to Spain’s government to test a four-day workweek consisting of 32 hours. Since the proposal, talks have continued, with the government agreeing to launch a modest test involving a pilot project with companies that are interested in the idea, the Guardian reported.
“With the four-day workweek (32 hours), we’re launching into the real debate of our times,” said Más País representative Iñigo Errejón on Twitter. “It’s an idea whose time has come.”
However, even at a 32-hour workweek, workers in Spain will still work longer hours than other industrialized countries.
For example, German workers, courtesy of a union negotiation, won the right to eight 28-hour workweeks in 2018, which was also boosted with a 4.3% pay raise. However, Germans only worked an average of 26.1 hours in 2018, Love Money reports.
Here are some other countries with workweeks shorter than 32 hours:
Denmark 26.7, Norway 27.2, Netherlands 27.5, Sweden 28.3, Luxembourg 28.9, Austria 29, France 29.2, United Kingdom 29.5, Belgium 29.6, Finland 29.8, Switzerland 29.9, Lithuania 31, Australia 31.9.
According to a 2019 study by OCED, Business Insider reported, the countries working between 32-39 hours per week include: USA 38.6, Lithuania 38.7, Iceland 38.8, Greece 38.8, Slovenia 39, Latvia 39.1, Slovakia 39.1, Czech Republic, 39.4 Portugal 39.5, Brazil 39.5, Hungry 39.6, Poland 39.8.
According to the 2019 OCED index, Columbia ranked number one with a 47.7-hour workweek, Turkey 47, Mexico 45.1, Costa Rica 44.5, South Africa 42.9, Chile 42.8, Israel 40.6.
According to a 2019 study by OCED, Americans, on average work 38.6 hours per week. However, 11% of workers in the US exceed 50 hours per week. There are many reasons not all Americans put in a 40-hour workweek. Employers don’t want to pay overtime when employees exceed 40 hours. Further, some employers are able to avoid paying employee benefits such as sick time and insurance for employees that are less than full-time. Some employers cover their needs with numerous part-time employees rather than full-time.
Many Americans certainly feel they are overworked and many Americans to overwork. Workers from the United States are ranked #1 when it comes to taking the fewest number of vacation days.
A 2018 study by Expedia found that US workers only took an average of 10 vacation days that year, AFAR reported. American workers also left 4 unused days of vacation time. The US tied with both Japan and Thailand for the fewest vacation days used.
American workers also receive some of the fewest overall vacation days per year compared to other industrialized countries. For example, Brazil, France, Germany, and Spain all receive 30 vacation days per year. Italy is close with 28 days and workers in the UK receive 26 days of holiday time.