15 Countries Working The Most Hours

The business district in Mexico City. People in Mexico work longer hours than anywhere else in the world.
The business district in Mexico City. People in Mexico work longer hours than anywhere else in the world.

There are many laws that regulate working hours in different countries around the world. Working time depends on location, occupation, lifestyle, and culture, and thus it varies from one person to the next. According to law, the standard working hours is the number of hours an employee is supposed to work, and it can be on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis. The standard working hours around the world is around 40 – 44 hours weekly. In most countries, employees should not exceed some working hours stipulated by law as maximum working hours.

15 Countries Working The Most Hours


Mexico is ranked as the number one country whose employees work the most hours. On average, the annual working hours for Mexicans was 2,246 hours in 2015. Most Mexicans work an average of 10 hours a day. According to Mexican laws, the maximum working hours per week is 48 hours. These laws are rarely observed since there are some loopholes in the law and also due to the country’s underdevelopment in comparison to other member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Most employees in Mexico fear unemployment and employer threats would make the employees work longer than the mandated 48 hours per week.

South Korea

People in South Korea spent an average of 2,113 hours working in the year 2015. South Korea is the country with the second most working hours. The long working hours in South Korea is due to the industrial system in the country and night cultures. South Korean laws mandate 40 working hours per week for all employees. The government, however, allows 12 hours, on weekdays, of paid overtime and 16 hours during the weekends. The people of South Korea have different working hours depending on the job and productivity. Employees in the private sector are reported to be working 5 hours more than their counterparts in the public sector when it comes to overtime.


Greece has one of the highest annual working hours among the countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The average working hours for workers in Greece is 42 hours per week. This working rate has made Greece the only country with the longest working hours in Europe. Greece is ranked third as the country with the most working hours in the world with 2,042 as the average annual working hours as of 2015.


In the year 2015, Chilean workers spent an average of 1,988 hours working. According to the laws in Chile, the maximum working hours a week is 45 hours plus two hours of overtime, however, employees working an average 42 hours. There are also reports of about 16% of Chilean employees working more than 50 hours per week.

Recent Trends In Working Hours

There are organizations around the world that have established zero-hour contracts whereby, workers are only paid for the number of hours they work. Most modern workplaces are experimenting with scheduled work, whereby the workers are allowed to shift their time of work away from traffic during rush hour. Workers in such cases can arrive at work at 10.00 am and leave at around 6.00 pm. This move is based on the need to eliminate longer commuting time that some workers experience.

15 Countries Working The Most Hours

RankCountryAverage Annual Hours
2South Korea2113
7United States1779
12United Kingdom1674

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