GCC countries work 18 hours more a week than which European country?

October 21, 2017 10:00 am

Employees’ working hours

Working less increases productivity and makes people happier. This is why Sweden, for instance, has introduced a system allowing employees to work 6 hours on full pay instead of 8 hours.

But which OECD countries really have the shortest working hours?

Global working hours

According to a study by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2017, Germany is the most efficient country, with German employees working for only 1,363 hours per year.

The country at the other end of the scale is Mexico with 2,255 working hours per year (48 hours per week).

A study by WorldAtlas, a platform providing geographic information, reveals that fear of unemployment in Mexico as well as poor treatment of employees prompt many in this country to push themselves to work for more than just 48 hours a week.

On the scale of countries with most hours worked, Mexico is followed by Costa Rica with 2,212 working hours per year. Then comes Korea (2,069 hours), Greece (2,035 hours), Russia (1,974 hours), Chile (1,974 hours), Poland (1,928 hours), Latvia (1,910 hours), Lithuania (1,885 hours) and Iceland (1,883 hours).

Norwegian, Dutch, Danish and French workers join Germany at the bottom of the scale, all working for less than 1,500 hours throughout the year.

With the remarkable gap between OECD countries when it comes to working hours per year, the GCC countries seem to commit their employees to similar working hours.

Read: Flexible hours, smart working tools hit among UAE employees

GCC countries

As per Article 98 in Saudi Labour Law, an employee in the Kingdom should not work more than 8 hours a day. The law says that if the employer decided to readjust the working hours for any reason, it should not exceed 48 hours a week.

Similarly, work time in the UAE is set at 48 hours a week and employers who force their workers to exceed that limit without paying them are violating labour rules.

Employers can have their employees work nine hours a day, but must deduct this extra hour from their work time on another day in the week, according to the Labour Law in the UAE.

As for Bahrain and Kuwait, the Labour Law dictates that the hours of work shall not exceed eight hours a day or 48 hours a week.

According to Internations, a guide for expats in 390 cities, Oman is a good place to be, if employees don’t want to spend their whole time in the office. In Oman, employees’ full-time working week stands at a below-average 43.5 hours. This may be the reason why seven in ten expats in Oman are happy with this flexibility.

A research conducted by AMEinfo shows that working hours in most of the GCC stand at 48 hours a week, a number similar to that in Mexico.

Read: The secret recipe for retaining your employees

No flexibility in the GCC

A very big drawback with GCC countries is the lack of policies to encourage work arrangements with flexible hours, such as part-time or temporary work, unlike OECD countries.

According to a study by Strategy&, flexible work arrangements offer significant benefits, but are largely ignored in the GCC by laws and regulations, which mostly focus on full-time arrangements and therefore are impractical for flexible work.

“GCC labour regulations generally do not account for the possibility that employers or employees may want to work for short-term or part-time periods,” it said.

The study explains that these arrangements are no prohibited. However, many processes and fees associated with full-time employment are also required of part-time or temporary arrangements.

“That, in effect, makes these arrangements difficult to consummate in a reasonable period of time, and the cost to set them up can significantly remove the financial incentive to set them up in the first place,” it says.

“The region’s policymakers and private-sector leaders will miss out on significant benefits if they do not smooth the path for the creation of part-time and temporary work arrangements,” it adds.

Read: What you need to know about GCC’s new work laws




Dana Halawi
By Dana Halawi
Senior Journalist
Dana Halawi has over seven years of experience in Journalism with articles published in multiple magazines and a newspaper in Lebanon. She specialized in Banking and Finance at the Lebanese American University and has a Master’s degree in International Affairs.