14 Oct
teleworking covid19 eurofound

Eurofound analyses the impact of Covid19 on working time in 2019–2020 (teleworking, short-time working…)

Working time in 2019–2020 (Eurofound Report) The most relevant changes in working time regulation in Europe in 2019 and 2020 addressed challenges arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most focused on short-time working schemes, on approaches to teleworking for those able to work from home and on regulations to ensure the safe provision of essential services.

In 2020, the average collectively agreed working week in the EU stood at 37.8 hours. Across the sectors analysed in the report, the collectively agreed normal working week was shortest in public administration (38 hours) and longest in transport (39.2 hours).

Paid annual leave entitlement (taking into account those set through collective bargaining) stood at an average of 24.5 days across the EU. Key topics for discussion in all Member States during the COVID-19 pandemic included dealing with the impact of changes in working hours on different groups of workers and the role of working time in supporting economic recovery and job creation.

Key figures

In 2019-2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to three main changes in working time regulation across the EU with the emergence of greater flexibility in short-time working schemes; the adaption of working time regimes to telework; and temporary derogations from working time regulations.

Although the usual working week stood at 39.7 hours in 2020, the average collectively agreed normal full-time working week in the EU27 was 37.8 hours. Across the sectors analysed, the collectively agreed normal working week was shortest in public administration (38 hours) and longest in transport (39.2 hours).

Between 2019 and 2020, the usual weekly working hours of full-time employees decreased in most Member States. However, the difference between Member States that joined prior to 2004 (the EU14) and those that joined in or after 2004 (the EU13) has remained at around 1 hour less, a constant since 2011.

While the minimum paid annual leave entitlement in the EU is 20 days, some Member States have increased this minimum entitlement through legislation or by collective agreement. If entitlements established through collective bargaining are factored in, the average annual paid leave stood at 24.5 days in the EU27. This is higher in the EU14 (25.6 days) than in the EU13 (21.4 days).

If collectively agreed annual working hours are considered, full-time workers in the EU27 should have worked 1,703 hours on average in 2020. This was lower at 1,665 hours in the EU14 and higher in the EU13 at 1,809 hours.

Hungary and Poland had the longest collectively agreed annual working hours, the equivalent of nearly seven weeks more than their counterparts in Germany, which had the shortest agreed annual working hours.

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