Switzerland maintains longest full-time week in Europe, despite falling hours

Switzerland maintains longest full-time week in Europe, despite falling hours

According to new data from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office (FSO), the total number of hours worked in Switzerland rose by 1,3 percent between 2021 and 2022, returning to levels seen pre-pandemic. Overall, the Swiss worked 7,92 billion hours in 2022, with more people choosing to take time off for holidays. Despite this, by the FSO's metrics, Switzerland remains the European country with the longest full-time working hours.

Amount of time people spend at work has fallen in the past half-decade

Despite working the most in Europe, the amount of time that people spend working in Switzerland has fallen between 2017 and 2022, with the average full-time worker now working for 39 hours and 59 minutes a week - before 2017, workers were on the clock for almost an hour longer on average.

The FSO has put this change down to staff agreeing to shorter working hours and more flexible work contracts, as well as more people taking sick leave and holidays. The new figures put Switzerland at the top of EU / EFTA countries for working hours, just in front of Romania and Cyprus.

While full-time hours remain sky-high, the amount of holiday Swiss workers take has increased from 5,1 weeks on average per year in 2021 to 5,2 weeks by the end of 2022, and health-related absences increased by 11 hours to 64 hours per job worked. This was compounded by the fact that more public holidays fell on workdays throughout 2022.

Large differences in working times in different industries

Some of the longest working hours are undertaken by those in the Swiss primary sector (farmers and manual labourers). Full-time employees in the industry work around 45 hours per week, according to the FSO’s data. By contrast, people in the Swiss hospitality sector and the real estate industry work just over 39 hours per week.

Around a third of people in Switzerland also work part-time. In fact, when part-time jobs are taken into account, the average Swiss working hours are just 35 hours and 45 minutes - one of the lowest EU / EFTA averages.

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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