3 December 2015

Working outside the nine-to-five weekday is a feature of working life for a significant segment of the workforce in Europe but the extra hours pale in comparison with the figures for people who run their own business.

According to the latest findings on working conditions in Europe from Eurofound, the Dublin-based European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, 1 in 4 male employees and 1 in 10 female employees put in more than the standard 40-hour week.

Among the self-employed who employ others, however, 62% of men and 41% of women work 48 hours or more a week. The figures are only slightly less striking for the self-employed who work on their own, with 38% of men and 27% of women working 48 hours or more.

As Eurofound says: "These are sobering statistics for anyone thinking of starting their own business."

Across the EU, one-third of all workers put in days of 10 hours or more at least once a month; more than half (52%) work at least one Saturday per month; while 30% work at least one Sunday.

Work is regularly eating into private life, the study found, as people work on their own time to keep up.

Nearly half (45%) say that they have worked in their free time in the past year in order to meet work demands, with 3% doing this on a daily basis, 7% several times a week and 13% several times a month.

Working time arrangements change regularly for 31% of employees, often at short notice: 5% are informed about the change on the same day and 8% the day before.

The sixth European Working Conditions Survey can be found here.