Working time
Overview
 
Working time is the period of time that an individual spends at paid occupational labor
Wage labour
Wage labour is the socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer, where the worker sells their labour under a formal or informal employment contract. These transactions usually occur in a labour market where wages are market determined...

. Unpaid labors such as personal housework are not considered part of the working week. Many countries regulate the work week by law, such as stipulating minimum daily rest periods
Break (work)
A break at work is a period of time during a shift in which an employee is allowed to take time off from his/her job. There are different types of breaks, and depending on the length and the employer's policies, the break may or may not be paid....

, annual holidays
Civic holiday
A civic holiday, civil holiday, public holiday, legal holiday, or work holiday is a day that is legally recognized and celebrated as a holiday in a particular sovereign state or jurisdictional subdivision of such, e.g., a state or a province...

 and a maximum number of working hours
Eight-hour day
The eight-hour day movement or 40-hour week movement, also known as the short-time movement, had its origins in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, where industrial production in large factories transformed working life and imposed long hours and poor working conditions. With working conditions...

 per week.
Since the 1960s, the consensus among anthropologists, historians and sociologists has been that early hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 societies enjoyed more leisure time than is permitted by capitalist
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 and agrarian societies
Agrarian society
An agrarian society is a society that depends on agriculture as its primary means for support and sustenance. The society acknowledges other means of livelihood and work habits but stresses the importance of agriculture and farming, and was the most common form of socio-economic oganization for...

; For instance, one camp of !Kung Bushmen
!Kung people
The ǃKung, also spelled ǃXun, are a Bushman people living in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia, Botswana and in Angola. They speak the ǃKung language, noted for using click consonants, generally classified as part of the Khoisan language family...

 was estimated to work two-and-a-half days per week, at around 6 hours a day.
Encyclopedia
Working time is the period of time that an individual spends at paid occupational labor
Wage labour
Wage labour is the socioeconomic relationship between a worker and an employer, where the worker sells their labour under a formal or informal employment contract. These transactions usually occur in a labour market where wages are market determined...

. Unpaid labors such as personal housework are not considered part of the working week. Many countries regulate the work week by law, such as stipulating minimum daily rest periods
Break (work)
A break at work is a period of time during a shift in which an employee is allowed to take time off from his/her job. There are different types of breaks, and depending on the length and the employer's policies, the break may or may not be paid....

, annual holidays
Civic holiday
A civic holiday, civil holiday, public holiday, legal holiday, or work holiday is a day that is legally recognized and celebrated as a holiday in a particular sovereign state or jurisdictional subdivision of such, e.g., a state or a province...

 and a maximum number of working hours
Eight-hour day
The eight-hour day movement or 40-hour week movement, also known as the short-time movement, had its origins in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, where industrial production in large factories transformed working life and imposed long hours and poor working conditions. With working conditions...

 per week.

Hunter-gatherer

Since the 1960s, the consensus among anthropologists, historians and sociologists has been that early hunter-gatherer
Hunter-gatherer
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 societies enjoyed more leisure time than is permitted by capitalist
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 and agrarian societies
Agrarian society
An agrarian society is a society that depends on agriculture as its primary means for support and sustenance. The society acknowledges other means of livelihood and work habits but stresses the importance of agriculture and farming, and was the most common form of socio-economic oganization for...

; For instance, one camp of !Kung Bushmen
!Kung people
The ǃKung, also spelled ǃXun, are a Bushman people living in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia, Botswana and in Angola. They speak the ǃKung language, noted for using click consonants, generally classified as part of the Khoisan language family...

 was estimated to work two-and-a-half days per week, at around 6 hours a day. Aggregated comparisons show that on average the working day was less than five hours.

Subsequent studies in 1970s examined the Machiguenga of the Upper Amazon and the Kayapo
Kayapo people
The Kayapo people are the Gê-speaking native peoples of the plain lands of the Mato Grosso and Pará in Brazil, south of the Amazon Basin and along Rio Xingu and its tributaries.In 2003, their population was 7,096....

 of Northern Brazil. These studies expanded the definition of work beyond purely hunting-gathering activities, but the overall average across the hunter-gatherer societies he studied was still below 4.86, while the maximum was below 8 hours. Popular perception is still aligned with the old academic consensus.

History

The industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 made it possible for a larger segment of the population to work year-round, since this labor was not tied to the season and artificial lighting
Lighting
Lighting or illumination is the deliberate application of light to achieve some practical or aesthetic effect. Lighting includes the use of both artificial light sources such as lamps and light fixtures, as well as natural illumination by capturing daylight...

 made it possible to work longer each day. Peasants and farm laborers moved from rural areas to factories
Factory
A factory or manufacturing plant is an industrial building where laborers manufacture goods or supervise machines processing one product into another. Most modern factories have large warehouses or warehouse-like facilities that contain heavy equipment used for assembly line production...

, and working time during the year increased significantly. Before collective bargaining
Collective bargaining
Collective bargaining is a process of negotiations between employers and the representatives of a unit of employees aimed at reaching agreements that regulate working conditions...

 and worker protection laws
Labour law
Labour law is the body of laws, administrative rulings, and precedents which address the legal rights of, and restrictions on, working people and their organizations. As such, it mediates many aspects of the relationship between trade unions, employers and employees...

, there was a financial incentive for a company to maximize the return on expensive machinery by having long hours. Records indicate that work schedules as arduous as twelve to sixteen hours per day, six to seven days per week were practiced in some industrial sites.

The automobile manufacturer, Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

, was an ardent proponent of shorter work hours, which he introduced unilaterally in his own factories. Ford stated that he pursued this policy for business rather than humanitarian reasons. He believed that workers (who were also the main consumers of products) needed adequate leisure
Leisure
Leisure, or free time, is time spent away from business, work, and domestic chores. It is also the periods of time before or after necessary activities such as eating, sleeping and, where it is compulsory, education....

 time to consume products and thus perceive a need to purchase them. Over the long term, consumer
Consumer
Consumer is a broad label for any individuals or households that use goods generated within the economy. The concept of a consumer occurs in different contexts, so that the usage and significance of the term may vary.-Economics and marketing:...

 markets needed to be grown. This view of the economy has become the predominant one since then.

Recent studies supporting a four-day week
Four-day week
A four-day week is an arrangement where a workplace or school has its employees or students work or attend school over the course of four days rather than the more customary five. This arrangement can be a part of flexible working hours, and is sometimes used to cut costs.In 2008, employees of the...

 have shown that reduced work hours not only increase consumption and invigorate the economy, but also improve worker's level of education (due to having extra time to take classes and courses) and worker's health (less work-related stress and extra time for exercise). Reduced hours also save money on day care
Day care
Child care or day care is care of a child during the day by a person other than the child's legal guardians, typically performed by someone outside the child's immediate family...

 costs and transportation, which in turn helps the environment with less carbon-related emissions. These benefits increase workforce productivity on a per-hour basis.

Over the 20th century, work hours declined by almost half, mostly due to rising wages brought about by renewed economic growth, with a supporting role from trade unions, collective bargaining
Collective bargaining
Collective bargaining is a process of negotiations between employers and the representatives of a unit of employees aimed at reaching agreements that regulate working conditions...

, and progressive legislation. The workweek, in most of the industrialized world, dropped steadily, to about forty hours after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. The decline continued at a faster pace in Europe: for example, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 adopted a 35-hour workweek
35-hour workweek
The 35-hour working week is a measure adopted first in France, in February 2000, under Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's Plural Left government; it was pushed by Minister of Labour Martine Aubry. The previous legal duration of the working week was 39 hours, which had been established by François...

 in 2000. In 1995, China adopted a 40-hour week, eliminating half-day work on Saturdays. Working hours in industrializing economies like South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

, though still much higher than the leading industrial countries, are also declining steadily.

Technology has also continued to improve worker productivity
Productivity
Productivity is a measure of the efficiency of production. Productivity is a ratio of what is produced to what is required to produce it. Usually this ratio is in the form of an average, expressing the total output divided by the total input...

, permitting standards of living to rise as hours declined. In developed economies, as the time needed to manufacture goods has declined, more working hours have become available to provide services, resulting in a shift of much of the workforce between sectors.

Economic growth in monetary terms tends to be concentrated in health care, education, government, criminal justice, corrections, and other activities that are regarded as necessary for society rather than those that contribute directly to the production of material goods.

Importance

Working time is a quantity that can be measured for an individual or, in the aggregate, for a society. In the latter case, a 40-hour workweek would imply that employed
Employment
Employment is a contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. An employee may be defined as:- Employee :...

 individuals within the society, on average, worked 40 hours per week.

Some industrialized nations legally mandate a maximum work week length of between 35 and 45 hours per week and require 2 to 5 weeks per year of holiday. However, the actual hours of work per week cannot fall below a certain minimum without compromising a nation’s ability to produce the material standards of living its citizens are accustomed to.

If the work week is too short compared to that society's ideal, then the society suffers from low availability of labor and human capital
Human capital
Human capitalis the stock of competencies, knowledge and personality attributes embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value. It is the attributes gained by a worker through education and experience...

. All else being equal, this will tend to result in lower real incomes and a lower standard of living than what could be had with a longer work week in the same society.

In contrast, a work week that is too long will result in earning more money at the cost of stress
Stress (medicine)
Stress is a term in psychology and biology, borrowed from physics and engineering and first used in the biological context in the 1930s, which has in more recent decades become commonly used in popular parlance...

-related health problems as well as a "drought of leisure." Furthermore, children are likely to receive less attention from busy parents, and childrearing is likely to be subjectively worse. The exact ways that long workweeks affect culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

, public health, and education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 are debated.

Several nations have imposed limits on working time in an effort to combat unemployment. The theory is that less work hours per a worker will create a demand for more workers, and give those that are already hired more leisure time. This has been done both on a national level, as in France's 35-hour workweek
35-hour workweek
The 35-hour working week is a measure adopted first in France, in February 2000, under Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's Plural Left government; it was pushed by Minister of Labour Martine Aubry. The previous legal duration of the working week was 39 hours, which had been established by François...

, and on the company-union level, for example the agreement between Volkswagen
Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

 and its union to temporarily reduce the workweek to 29 hours to preserve jobs. This policy is controversial among economists.

Decrease in staff working hours

Many people think that the increased use of ICT has caused a reduction in the number of hours employees are required to work. This is because ICT has allowed people to work from the distance regardless of their location (via the internet). As a result, this leads to a decrease into the time spent in an office or away from the family. A general study also proves that most people (children) desire to spend more time with their family and are deprived of that fact due to the excess time spent at work. Nowadays this has changed and people split their time from the main office. An increase in number of people working part-time is also more evident as people realize that the internet allow people to work from their home and therefore allowing them to spend the desired time with the family, resulting in shorter work hours for the staff. Consequently, in order for this to be successful, a company must be organized in order to allow the employees to work fewer hours at the office but still do the same amount of work if they were to stay full-time.

9-to-5

9-to-5 is a phrase used to describe a conventional and possibly tedious job
Job (role)
A job is a regular activity performed in exchange for payment. A person usually begins a job by becoming an employee, volunteering, or starting a business. The duration of a job may range from an hour to a lifetime . If a person is trained for a certain type of job, they may have a profession...

. Negatively used, it connotes a tedious or unremarkable occupation, the idea being that, because the job is so boring, the workplace shuts down outside of required hours. The phrase also indicates that a person is an employee, usually in a large company, rather than self-employed. More neutrally, it connotes a job with stable hours and low career risk, but still a position of subordinate employment.

The phrase is an expression in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 originating from the traditional American business hours
Business hours
Business hours are the hours during the day in which business is commonly conducted. Typical business hours vary widely by country. By observing common informal standards for business hours, workers may communicate with each other more easily and find a convenient divide between work life and...

 of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, representing a workweek of five eight hour days comprising 40 hours in total. The actual time worked, or rather at work, often varies between 35 and 48 hours in practice due to the inclusion, or lack of inclusion, of breaks
Break (work)
A break at work is a period of time during a shift in which an employee is allowed to take time off from his/her job. There are different types of breaks, and depending on the length and the employer's policies, the break may or may not be paid....

. In many traditional white collar
White-collar worker
The term white-collar worker refers to a person who performs professional, managerial, or administrative work, in contrast with a blue-collar worker, whose job requires manual labor...

 positions, employees were required to be in the office
Office
An office is generally a room or other area in which people work, but may also denote a position within an organization with specific duties attached to it ; the latter is in fact an earlier usage, office as place originally referring to the location of one's duty. When used as an adjective, the...

 during these hours in order to take orders from the bosses, hence the relationship between this phrase and subordination. Workplace hours have become both more flexible and, especially in urban locations
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

, longer but even still, the phrase is commonly used. (Though exceptionally demanding such jobs might be described as an "8-to-7" or "7-to-10".)

Days of the work week

The structure of the work week varies considerably for different professions and cultures. Among salaried workers in the western world, the work week
Week
A week is a time unit equal to seven days.The English word week continues an Old English wice, ultimately from a Common Germanic , from a root "turn, move, change"...

 often consists of Monday through Friday or Saturday with the weekend
Workweek
The workweek and weekend are those complementary parts of the week devoted to labour and rest respectively. The legal working week , or workweek , is the part of the seven-day week devoted to labor. In most Western countries it is Monday to Friday. The weekend comprises the two traditionally...

 set aside as a time of personal work and leisure. Sunday is set aside in the western world because it is the Christian sabbath.

Several countries have adopted a workweek from Monday morning until Friday noon, either due to religious rules (observation of shabbat
Shabbat
Shabbat is the seventh day of the Jewish week and a day of rest in Judaism. Shabbat is observed from a few minutes before sunset on Friday evening until a few minutes after when one would expect to be able to see three stars in the sky on Saturday night. The exact times, therefore, differ from...

 in Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 whose workweek is Sunday to Friday afternoon) or the growing predominance of a 35-37.5 hour workweek in continental Europe. Several of the Muslim countries have a standard Sunday through Thursday or Saturday through Wednesday workweek leaving Friday for religious observance, and providing breaks for the daily prayer times.

Day nicknames and expressions

Among salaried workers in the western world, Monday through Friday structure of the work week has led to the coining of phrases reflecting shared states of mind or moods among workers as they traverse the week.

'Blue Monday'

'Hump day' is a synonym for Wednesday. The idiom is based on the notion that if a worker has made it half-way through the week, struggling uphill from Monday, that the rest of the week is an easier slide toward Friday and the weekend; the end is in sight from the hump, the top of the hill.

'TGIF
TGIF
TGIF is an initialism for the phrase "Thank God It's Friday", celebrating the last day of the work/school week before the weekend. Its origin dates to the 1960s. It was first popularized by the restaurant T.G.I. Friday's which was founded in 1965. However, it became mainstream by the late 1970s,...

' is an acronym meaning "Thank God It's Friday" or "Thank Goodness It's Friday" an expression of relief that the work week is finally over and that even if the weekend is not full of leisure, at least the drudgery of the workplace is temporarily over.

'Pau Hana' is a Hawaiian phrase literally meaning "finished work" but generally refers to the practice of leaving work early on Friday to start the weekend.

POETS day
POETS day
POETS day is a term used by workers in the United Kingdom and Australia, to jocularly refer to Friday as the last day of the work week. The letters in "POETS" are an acronym for "Piss Off Early Tomorrow's Saturday": hence Friday becomes a Poet's day...

 is an acronym meaning "Piss Off Early Tomorrow's Saturday", a term for Fridays, used in industries where it is common practice to finish work early at the end of the week. Variations on this are "Punch Out Early Tomorrow's Saturday" (referring to a manual punch time clock
Time clock
A time clock, sometimes known as a clock card machine or punch clock or time recorder, is a mechanical timepiece used to assist in tracking the hours an employee of a company worked. In regards to mechanical time clocks this was accomplished by inserting a heavy paper card, called a timesheet,...

), "Push Off Early Tomorrow's Saturday" and "Push Off Early Tomorrow's Sunday" (based on the old 6 day work week). Used in UK and Australia but appears less popular in the US
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

.

South Korea and Japan

Workers in South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

 have the longest and fastest declining work hours among OECD members. The working hours have steadily fallen every year since the 21st century, declining from 2,512 hours in 2000 to 2,193 hours in 2010. The amount of working hours falling every year has also increased significantly, accelerating the decline. Between 2000 and 2001, only 13 hours declined, leading to a 1.6% decline. However, between 2007 and 2008, a quadrupled 60 hours declined, leading to a 6.8% decline. At this speed, the next longest working country, Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, is likely going to overtake South Korea soon as its 2,109 working hours in 2010 fell only by 10 hours from 2009.

South Korea's rapidly falling working hours is the result of the government's proactive move to lower working hours at all levels in order to increase leisure
Leisure
Leisure, or free time, is time spent away from business, work, and domestic chores. It is also the periods of time before or after necessary activities such as eating, sleeping and, where it is compulsory, education....

 and relaxation
Relaxation
Relaxation stands quite generally for a release of tension, a return to equilibrium.In the sciences, the term is used in the following ways:*Relaxation , and more in particular:...

 time, which introduced the mandatory 40-hours, 5-day working week in 2004 for companies with over 1,000 employees. This expanded to companies with 300 employees or more in 2005, 100 employees or more in 2006, 50 or more in 2007, 20 or more in 2008 and a full roll-out to all workers nationwide in July 2011. Since 2006, all primary and secondary schools have held classes every other Saturday and from 2012, South Korea will roll-out the full 5-day school week nationwide.

Work hours in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 are decreasing, but many Japanese still work long hours. Recently, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) has issued a draft report recommending major changes to regulations that govern working hours. The centerpiece of the proposal is an exemption from overtime pay for white-collar workers.

Western Europe

In most Western European countries, working time is gradually decreasing. The European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

's working time directive
Working Time Directive
The Working Time Directive is a European Union Directive, which creates the right for EU workers to a minimum number of holidays each year, paid breaks, and rest of at least 11 hours in any 24 hours; restricts excessive night work; and makes a default right to work no more than 48 hours per week....

 imposes a 48 hour maximum working week that applies to every member state except the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 (which has an opt-out meaning that UK-based employees may work longer than 48 hours if they wish, but they cannot be forced to do so). France has enacted a 35-hour workweek
35-hour workweek
The 35-hour working week is a measure adopted first in France, in February 2000, under Prime Minister Lionel Jospin's Plural Left government; it was pushed by Minister of Labour Martine Aubry. The previous legal duration of the working week was 39 hours, which had been established by François...

 by law, and similar results have been produced in other countries such as Germany through collective bargaining. A major reason for the low annual hours worked in Europe is a relatively high amount of paid annual leave. Fixed employment comes with four to six weeks of holiday as standard.

Mexico

Law in Mexico provides for a maximum of 48 hours of work a week. However, due to loopholes in the law, the precariousness of labor rights in Mexico and its underdevelopment in relation to other OECD member nations, this is rarely observed in the private sector, with workers more often than not working overtime without getting any due compensation for it. Fear of the employees' losing their job or threats by the employer partly explains the reason for these irregularities .

Australia

In Australia, between 1974 and 1997 no marked change took place in the average amount of time spent at work by Australians of "prime working age" (that is, between 25 and 54 years of age). Throughout this period, the average time spent at work by prime working-age Australians (including those who did not spend any time at work) remained stable at between 27 and 28 hours per week. This unchanging average, however, masks a significant redistribution of work from men to women. Between 1974 and 1997, the average time spent at work by prime working-age Australian men fell from 45 to 36 hours per week, while the average time spent at work by prime working-age Australian women rose from 12 to 19 hours per week. In the period leading up to 1997, the amount of time Australian workers spent at work outside the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays also increased.

In 2009, a rapid increase in the number of working hours was reported in a study by The Australia Institute. The study found the average Australian worked 1855 hours per year at work. According to Clive Hamilton of The Australia Institute, this surpasses even Japan. The Australia Institute believes that Australians work the highest number of hours in the developed world.

United States

NSC-68 and labor force size, participation, and the steady growth of working time in the United States from 1950-2007:

By 1946 the federal government had already inaugurated the 40-hour work week for all federal employees. Beginning in 1950, under the Truman Administration, and continuing with all administrations since, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 became the first known industrialized nation to explicitly (albeit secretly) and permanently forswear a reduction of working time.
Given the military-industrial requirements of the Cold War, the authors of the then secret National Security Council Document 68 proposed the US government undertake a massive permanent national economic expansion that would let it “siphon off” a part of the economic activity produced to support an ongoing military buildup to contain the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

:

… the United States could achieve a substantial absolute increase in output and could thereby increase the allocation of resources to a build-up of the economic and military strength of itself and its allies without suffering a decline in its real standard of living … With a high level of economic activity, the United States could soon attain a gross national product of $300 billion per year, as was pointed out in the President's Economic Report (January 1950). Progress in this direction would permit, and might itself be aided by, a buildup of the economic and military strength of the United States and the free world; furthermore, if a dynamic expansion of the economy were achieved, the necessary build-up could be accomplished without a decrease in the national standard of living because the required resources could be obtained by siphoning off a part of the annual increment in the gross national product. These are facts of fundamental importance in considering the courses of action open to the United States (cf. Ch. IX).http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSC-68

This proposal was adopted by President Truman, who, in his 1951 Annual Message to the Congress, stated:

In terms of manpower, our present defense targets will require an increase of nearly one million men and women in the armed forces within a few months, and probably not less than four million more in defense production by the end of the year. This means that an additional 8 percent of our labor force, and possibly much more, will be required by direct defense needs by the end of the year.
These manpower needs will call both for increasing our labor force by reducing unemployment and drawing in women and older workers, and for lengthening hours of work in essential industries. These manpower requirements can be met. There will be manpower shortages, but they can be solved.


Despite the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, working time has remained unchanged by subsequent administrations and Congress.
A 2007 C.I.A. estimate of United States labor force participation placed it at approximately 153.1 million individuals. Assuming each individual worked a 1987 average work week of 1949 hours, working time rose from 121 billion man hours per year to 398 billion man hours per year. This represents an actual extension of the working time by 247 percent over the fifty-seven year period. The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics states that between 1950 and 2000 the number of individuals in the active labor force grew 227 percent from 62 million to 141 million, and was projected to reach 192 million by 2050.

Working time and female labor force participation – 1950-2000:

Most significant, as President Truman’s 1951 message predicted, the share of working women rose from 30 percent of the labor force, in 1950, to 47 percent, by 2000 – growing at a particularly rapid rate from 1970 to 1980.

“In the 1950–60 period, population growth alone was responsible for the growth of the labor force. During the 1960–70 period, population growth contributed about 94 percent of the growth in the labor force. In the 1970–80 period, when the labor force participation of women underwent rapid growth, 76 percent of the labor force growth was the result of population growth, and the rest was related to the growth of participation rates, mainly of women.”

The report continues:

“In 1950, the overall participation rate of women was 34 percent. […] The rate rose to 38 percent in 1960, 43 percent in 1970, 52 percent in 1980, and 58 percent in 1990 and reached 60 percent by 2000. The overall labor force participation rate of women is projected to attain its highest level in 2010, at 62 percent.”

The inclusion of women in the work force is seen as a symbol of social progress, but, since this participation has not been offset by an overall reduction of individual average work time, the net effect, once the vastly improved productivity of the United States labor force is factored in, has been a labor force that is today worked to more extreme lengths than any earlier period in United State history.

The price impact of United States lengthening working time – 1950-2007:

Although it is not yet supported by independent research, one argument states the lengthening of work time in the United States may be implicated in the secular persistence on inflation. Between 1950 and 2007 official price inflation was measured to 861 percent. President Truman, in his 1951 message to Congress, predicted correctly that his military buildup “will cause intense and mounting inflationary pressures.” Yet even he did not appear to sense the permanent and long term price implications of a longer working time.

The official inflation statistics may actually understate the real impact of the lengthening work week on prices. To give a closer estimate, it is necessary to correct for productivity increase during the same period. Using the data provided by the United State Bureau of Labor Statistics, Erik Rauch has estimated productivity to have increased by nearly 400%.
Says, Rauch:

“… if productivity means anything at all, a worker should be able to earn the same standard of living as a 1950 worker in only 11 hours per week.”

The increase in productivity since 1950, ideally, should have had the effect of lowering prices of material goods. Given this, a truer measure of inflation during this period might be as much as four times higher than government figures.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the working time for upper-income professionals has increased compared to 1965, while total annual working time for low-skill, low-income workers has decreased. This effect is sometimes called the "leisure gap".

Social impact

Because of the pressure of working, time is increasingly viewed as a commodity. This trend, as well as the amount of working time being found to affect gender roles, has been notably researched by Sociology professor Dr. Stephen C. Smith. In 2006, the average man employed full-time worked 8.4 hours per work day, and the average woman employed full-time worked 7.7 hours per work day.

There is no mandatory minimum amount of paid time off for sickness or holiday. However, regular, full-time workers often have the opportunity to take about nine days off for various holidays, two weeks of sick leave and two weeks of paid holiday time, with some workers receiving additional time after several years.

Overtime rules

Many professional workers put in longer hours than the forty-hour standard. In professional industries like investment banking and large law firms, a forty-hour workweek is considered inadequate and may result in job loss or failure to be promoted. Medical residents in the United States routinely work long hours as part of their training
Medical resident work hours
Medical resident work hours is a term that refers to the often lengthy shifts worked by medical interns and residents during their medical residency. The issue has become a political football in the United States, where federal regulations do not limit the number of hours that can be assigned...

.

Workweek policies are not uniform in the U.S. Many compensation arrangements are legal, and three of the most common are wage, commission, and salary payment schemes. Wage earners are compensated on a per-hour basis, whereas salaried workers are compensated on a per-week or per-job basis, and commission workers get paid according to how much they produce or sell.

Under most circumstances, wage earners and lower-level employees may be legally required by an employer to work more than forty hours in a week; however, they are paid extra for the additional work. Many salaried workers and commission-paid sales staff are not covered by overtime laws. These are generally called "exempt" positions, because they are exempt from federal and state laws that mandate extra pay for extra time worked. The rules are complex, but generally exempt workers are executives, professionals, or sales staff. For example, school teachers are not paid extra for working extra hours. Business owners and independent contractors are considered self-employed, and none of these laws apply to them.

Generally, workers are paid time-and-a-half, or 1.5 times the worker's base wage, for each hour of work past forty. California also applies this rule to work in excess of eight hours per day.

In some states, firms are required to pay double-time, or twice the base rate, for each hour of work past 60, or each hour of work past 12 in one day in California. This provides an incentive
Incentive
In economics and sociology, an incentive is any factor that enables or motivates a particular course of action, or counts as a reason for preferring one choice to the alternatives. It is an expectation that encourages people to behave in a certain way...

 for companies to limit working time, but makes these additional hours more desirable for the worker. It is not uncommon for overtime hours to be accepted voluntarily by wage-earning workers. Unions
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

 often treat overtime as a desirable commodity when negotiating how these opportunities shall be partitioned among union members.

Other countries

The Kapauku
Ekari language
Ekari is a Trans–New Guinea language spoken by about 100,000 people in the Paniai lakes region of the Indonesian province of Papua, including the villages of Mapia and Moanamani. This makes it the second-most populous Papuan language in Indonesian New Guinea after Western Dani. Language use is...

 people of Papua
Papua (Indonesian province)
Papua comprises most of the western half of the island of New Guinea and nearby islands. Its capital is Jayapura. It's the largest and easternmost province of Indonesia. The province originally covered the entire western half of New Guinea...

 think it is bad luck to work two consecutive days. The !Kung Bushmen
!Kung people
The ǃKung, also spelled ǃXun, are a Bushman people living in the Kalahari Desert in Namibia, Botswana and in Angola. They speak the ǃKung language, noted for using click consonants, generally classified as part of the Khoisan language family...

 work just two-and-a-half days per week, rarely more than six hours per day.

The work week in Samoa
Samoa
Samoa , officially the Independent State of Samoa, formerly known as Western Samoa is a country encompassing the western part of the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific Ocean. It became independent from New Zealand in 1962. The two main islands of Samoa are Upolu and one of the biggest islands in...

 is approximately 30 hours, and though average annual Samoan cash income is relatively low, by some measures, the Samoan standard of living is quite good.

In India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 at the managerial level, particularly in smaller Indian companies, a person generally works for 11 hours a day and 6 days a week. A typical office will open at 09:00 or 09:30 and officially end the work day at about 19:00. However, many workers and especially managers will stay later in the office due to additional work load. However, large Indian companies and MNC offices located in India tend to follow a 5-day, 8-9h-hour per day working schedule. The Government of India in some of its offices also follows a 5-day week schedule.

Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

 has public servants work 35 hours per week.

The work time in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 is 8 hours per day, on duty jobs are 6 hours per day.

Recent trends

Many modern workplaces are experimenting with accommodating changes in the workforce and the basic structure of scheduled work. Flextime allows office workers to shift their working time away from rush-hour
Rush hour
A rush hour or peak hour is a part of the day during which traffic congestion on roads and crowding on public transport is at its highest. Normally, this happens twice a day—once in the morning and once in the evening, the times during when the most people commute...

 traffic; for example, arriving at 10:00 am and leaving at 6:00 pm. Telecommuting
Telecommuting
Telecommuting or telework is a work arrangement in which employees enjoy flexibility in working location and hours. In other words, the daily commute to a central place of work is replaced by telecommunication links...

 permits employees to work from their homes or in satellite locations (not owned by the employer),eliminating or reducing long commute times in heavily-populated areas. Zero-hour contracts establish work contracts without minimum-hour guarantees; workers are paid only for the hours they work.

See also

  • Leisure
    Leisure
    Leisure, or free time, is time spent away from business, work, and domestic chores. It is also the periods of time before or after necessary activities such as eating, sleeping and, where it is compulsory, education....

  • Paul Lafargue
    Paul Lafargue
    Paul Lafargue was a French revolutionary Marxist socialist journalist, literary critic, political writer and activist; he was Karl Marx's son-in-law, having married his second daughter Laura. His best known work is The Right to Be Lazy...

  • Eight-hour day
    Eight-hour day
    The eight-hour day movement or 40-hour week movement, also known as the short-time movement, had its origins in the Industrial Revolution in Britain, where industrial production in large factories transformed working life and imposed long hours and poor working conditions. With working conditions...

  • Business hours
    Business hours
    Business hours are the hours during the day in which business is commonly conducted. Typical business hours vary widely by country. By observing common informal standards for business hours, workers may communicate with each other more easily and find a convenient divide between work life and...

  • Soviet calendar
  • Waiting for the Weekend
    Waiting for the Weekend
    Waiting for the Weekend is a book published in 1991 by Canadian architect, professor and writer Witold Rybczynski.In Waiting for the Weekend, Rybczynski recounts the evolution of the seven-day week, which came into being with the Babylonian calendar, and the later, more modern, development of the...

  • Workweek
    Workweek
    The workweek and weekend are those complementary parts of the week devoted to labour and rest respectively. The legal working week , or workweek , is the part of the seven-day week devoted to labor. In most Western countries it is Monday to Friday. The weekend comprises the two traditionally...

  • Labour market flexibility
    Labour market flexibility
    Labour market flexibility refers to the speed with which labour markets adapt to fluctuations and changes in society, the economy or production.-Definition:In the past, the most common definition of labour market flexibility was the neo-liberal definition...

  • Work-life balance
    Work-life balance
    Work–life balance is a broad concept including proper prioritizing between "work" on the one hand and "life" on the other. Related, though broader, terms include "lifestyle balance" and "life balance".-History:The work-leisure dichotomy was invented in the mid 1800s...


Further reading

  • Deirdre McCann (2005), Working Time Laws: A global perspective, ILO
    International Labour Organization
    The International Labour Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues pertaining to international labour standards. Its headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland. Its secretariat — the people who are employed by it throughout the world — is known as the...

    , ISBN 92-2-117323-2
  • Madeleine Bunting (2004), Willing Slaves: How the Overwork Culture is Ruling Our Lives, HarperCollins
  • John de Graaf (2003), Take Back Your Time, Berrett-Koehler, ISBN 1-57675-245-3
  • Eugene J. McCarthy and William McGaughey (1989), "Nonfinancial Economics: The Case for Shorter Hours of Work", Praeger
  • William McGaughey (1981), "A Shorter Workweek in the 1980s", Thistlerose
  • Heejung Chung, Marcel Kerkhofs and Peter Ester "Working Time Flexibility in European Companies" , European Foundation.
  • Colette Fagan, Ariane Hegewisch and Jane Pillinger "Out of Time: why Britain needs a new approach to working time flexibility", TUC
  • Ute Klammer, Ton Wilthagen, Heejung Chung, Anke Thiel (2008) "Take it or leave it: flexible working-time arrangements and the synchronization of business cycle and life cycle" (as part of the European Foundation project "Flexibility and Security over the lifecourse")
  • Thirsk, Joan
    Joan Thirsk
    Irene Joan Watkins Thirsk, MA , PhD, FBA, FRHistS is a British economic and social historian, specialized in the History of agriculture. She is one of the leading economic and social historians of the 20th century, having greatly influenced the methodology and direction of research...

     (1967) (editor) The agrarian history of England and Wales
    The agrarian history of England and Wales
    The Agrarian History of England and Wales is an academic work, published by Cambridge University Press, which in 8 volumes covers the period from the origins to 1939....

    vol. IV

External links

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