15 countries in the world have workers working for 60 hours and above per week. This statistic was revealed by a 2015 report on the number of hours worked by employees per country. Among these countries, Turkey had the most overworked employees. The reasons for spending long hours at work may vary from one person to another. For some people, it may be as a result of the nature of their jobs such as nurses, doctors, and drivers. Hence, it is necessary for them to be at work although that is arguable because shifts may be used to reduce the hours worked. Other reasons may include law enforcement, self-motivation, company expectations, and culture.
Countries Where People Work 60-Hour Weeks
In Turkey, 23.3% of the employees work for a minimum of 60 hours per week. The second state with overworked employees was South Korea with 22.6% of workers being at their workstations for at least 60 hours per week. Other countries with more than 10% of its working population enduring 60 hours weekly doing their jobs are Indonesia (14.3%), India (13.6%), and Greece (11.2%). The rest of the countries had lower percentages such as Japan (9.2%), France (4.9%), Spain (3.9%), United States (3.8%), and Sweden (1.9%).
The labor and trade union legislation in Turkey states clearly that the maximum working hours per week for employees is 45 hours. However, in spite of these laws there are about 23.3% of employees in the workforce who spend at least 60 hours at work weekly. Such a position may be attributed to the fact that in the Turkish culture, men rarely get involved in the domestic activities. The household chores are almost entirely the women’s responsibilities. Therefore, most men spend their time at work to fend for their families. Statistically, about 43% of men spend long hours at work compared to 31% for working women.
In Japan, the challenge seems to be with the distorted attitudes of the employees towards work-life balance. In fact, the word "karoshi" has been coined in their vocabulary to mean “death from work.” Japanese workers insist on staying late at work past the regular working hours. They also tend to avoid taking time off work even during the holidays.
In the United States, 3.8% of employees work for 60 hours and above per week. Many people have become workaholics; some even taking more than one job. There are also very few vacations with the longest one being Thanksgiving. Even on the Election Day, Americans still have to go to work and make private plans on when to exercise their right to vote.
Dangers of Working for Long Hours
Working long hours every week increases a person’s stress levels and it can ultimately harm an individual's health. In Japan, for instance, the lack of rest by workers has led to high numbers of suicide cases. There are also many deaths caused by stress often in the form of heart strokes.