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Working time trends and developments in Europe 1


  • Jon C. Messenger


The objective of this paper is to summarise what is known about key trends and developments in working time across Europe. The European Region analysed in this paper includes not only the 27 current member states of the European Union (EU), but extends even beyond its borders. This paper review trends and patterns in working hours in the broadest range of countries possible given data limitations (especially outside the EU), with a focus on: average weekly hours of work and the proportion of workers working 'excessively long hours' (defined as usual working hours of 48 or more per week); developments regarding one unique form of working time arrangement, part-time work, with a focus on the incidence of part-time work in each country, changes in this incidence over time, the female share of part-time employment and issues related to the quality of part-time jobs; and finally considers trends in the organisation of working time across Europe, with a focus on the incidence of non-standard work schedules (e.g. night work and weekend work) and shift work, as well as the extent to which various types of flexible working time arrangements are being deployed in individual enterprises. Finally, the paper presents some policy suggestions within a broad framework designed to advance the International Labour Organisation (ILO) concept of decent work in the area of working time. Copyright The Author 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Cambridge Political Economy Society. All rights reserved., Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Jon C. Messenger, 2011. "Working time trends and developments in Europe 1," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 35(2), pages 295-316.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:35:y:2011:i:2:p:295-316

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    1. Le (presunte) virtù salvifiche della riduzione del cuneo fiscale
      by keynesblog in Keynes Blog on 2014-02-28 21:55:37


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    Cited by:

    1. Polat, Sezgin, 2016. "Industry Wage Differentials and Working Conditions in Turkey: A Brief Note," MPRA Paper 73165, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Frei, Irina & Grund, Christian, 2017. "Antecedents of Overtime Work: The Case of Junior Academics," IZA Discussion Papers 11065, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Bruce Philp & Dan Wheatley, 2013. "European Work Time Regulation, Surplus-Value and Underemployment among Full-Time Employees: A Cross-Sectional Analysis using the 2009 EU LFS," Economic Issues Journal Articles, Economic Issues, vol. 18(1), pages 57-74, March.
    4. Fiona Carmichael & Christian K. Darko & Patricia Daley & Joanne Duberley & Marco Ercolani & Tim Schwanen & Daniel Wheatley, 2024. "Time poverty and gender in urban sub‐Saharan Africa: Long working days and long commutes in Ghana's Greater Accra Metropolitan Area," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(1), pages 343-364, January.
    5. Mark L. Bryan & Almudena Sevilla, 2017. "Flexible working in the UK and its impact on couples’ time coordination," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 1415-1437, December.

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