People are working less and less in Switzerland

People are working less and less in Switzerland

On average, people in Switzerland are gradually spending less time in the office and more time in the sunshine. The amount of time people work in Switzerland has been steadily decreasing over the last 10 years, according to new data from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

Fewer hours and more breaks seen in Swiss jobs

The new figures show that, even before the pandemic, the amount of time people spent at their jobs has decreased dramatically over the last few years. Between 2010 and 2019, the amount each person works decreased by 3,9 percent, or 7,4 days a year on average. The FSO noted that this was mainly due to people spending more time on holiday, working less overtime and having more part-time work contracts.

The amount of holiday leave each person takes has also increased by 0,8 days to around 5,2 weeks every year. Even among typically high-stress professions like freelancers and entrepreneurs, the amount of time people take off has increased.

The fall in working hours was most profound among men, who worked 5,2 percent less in 2019 than they did in 2010. Women and expats saw the lowest decrease, as more of them joined the Swiss workforce.

Switzerland saw one of the biggest drops in working hours in Europe

During COVID, the drop in working hours was even more pronounced. Hours worked fell by 3,4 percent across the board, but some sectors like accommodation and hospitality saw their working hours drop by 22 percent, mainly due to COVID lockdowns.

In Europe, Switzerland has the sixth sharpest decline in working hours in Europe, being beaten by Slovakia, Croatia, Malta, Slovenia and Estonia. What is more notable is that some nations have seen their working hours increase, despite the pandemic. Working hours in the Netherlands, UK and Ireland increased the most, with employees seeing up to 3 percent more work than 10 years ago.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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