How Many Hours a Week Is a Full-Time Job?

People who work too long have "little time to engage in other activities outside of work, including spending time with their families or spending time on volunteering or looking after themselves, like doing some physical exercise or eating healthily,” Kamerade-Hanta says.

This illustration describes what a full-time week is including 'In the past, 40 hours was the typical work week,' 'Today, there's no universally accepted, or government-set, definition for full-time employment,' and 'Individual employers determine how many hours a week are considered full-time, whether 30 hours, 35 hours, or 37.5 hours.'

What Is The Average Work Hours Per Week In The US?

Research Summary. The time you work at or for your place of employment depends heavily on economic conditions, where you live, and lifestyle choices. Below, we discuss the average times worked by Americans and break down how different experience levels, education levels, and job types can significantly impact this number. After extensive research, our data analysis team concluded:

Depending on your company and job, the time you spend at work could surpass your time at home. You’re not alone in this statistic. The majority of Americans work 34.4 hours per week as of May 2019, taking into consideration various job fields, salaries, experience levels, and more.

It’s typically a good idea to understand the average hours per week worked in your country so that you can use that information to help choose the right job. Understanding how many hours you’re expected to work in contrast to the average amount of hours work will help you negotiate for more pay, manage your priorities better, and be a key deciding factor as to whether or not you take a new job opportunity.

The number of hours you work constitutes time spent at your paid place of employment or doing things for your paid place of employment. These hours do not take into account personal housework, caring for dependents, or running errands.

What is Full-Time Employment?

The determination of what constitutes full-time employment depends on the company”s policy and practice of defining full-time employees with the exception of designations under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

According to the American Time Use Survey, full-time workers put in 8.5 hours on average during a typical workday. So how many hours a week are you expected to work if you are a full-time employee?

Even though many people consider 35 or 40 hours a week full-time, the number of hours you are expected to work can vary depending on your employer. In some cases, it’s less; for other employers, it can be more. The same holds true for part-time employment. Company policy determines how many hours per week is considered a part-time job.

Are We Still Happy With the 40-Hour Workweek?

But with “hustle culture” and its glorification of long working hours, along with the pervasive assumption that longer hours are required to get ahead, many people find themselves working more than 40 hours a week. Estimates vary, but one Gallup poll found that the average American actually works closer to 47 hours each week (and that 18% of workers clock 60-hour weeks).

Here’s the thing: the 40- (and 47- and 60-) hour-week isn’t working for us. Employee burnout has reached peak levels, with a separate Gallup study indicating that two-thirds of U.S. employees feel burned out at work.

That has led to some recent backlash against the traditional workweek , with many advocating that a compressed workweek would be better for both productivity and employee mental health, whether achieved with four 10-hour days or an actual shortened week of just 32 hours.

Several well-known companies have already introduced that schedule. Project management software company Basecamp does 32-hour weeks during the summer months. Shake Shack is reportedly jumping on the bandwagon and testing the four-day approach.

While there are some criticisms of a condensed work schedule , such as failure to keep up with the competition or meet work requirements, the idea continues to gain some traction. In a survey of 1,000 American adults, a whopping 53% of respondents said that they’d prefer a four-day workweek with 10-hour days over a five-day week with eight-hour shifts.

Work hours per week: Working too little

In a 2019 study, Kamerade-Hanta and her colleagues found that people’s measures of well-being don’t change much whether they worked so few as 8 hours in a week or as many as 48 hours.

But interestingly, they did find that some work does make a positive difference. Even a very small amount of work, between one and eight hours, was enough to "generate significant mental health and well-being benefits" among people who were previously out of work, the study found. The results suggest that we do need to do some work to get the greatest mental-health benefits — but it still leaves the question of just how much open to debate.

Measuring working hours

How are working hours measured and what can we learn from the data?

Work is a central part of our lives. It is something we do almost every day, for much of the day, for decades on end. Because it is so central, looking closely at how much time we spend working can tell us a lot about our lives and the societies we live in.

To understand these changes in societies and people’s lives over time, and the substantial differences we see in the world today, it is crucial to measure and study how much time people spend working.

How are working hours measured?


Surveys are the primary way to collect data on working hours. They are typically conducted by national statistical agencies and come in three main types: labor force surveys, establishment surveys, and time use surveys. These surveys all provide an important perspective on working hours, but there are some key differences.

Labor force surveys collect data on employment status and time spent working by asking individual workers themselves. Of the survey types, these provide the most comprehensive perspective, covering hours actually worked in all economic sectors as part of both formal and informal employment, full-time and part-time, as well as self-employment and unpaid family work. 17 But labor force surveys only cover residents of a country above a certain age (usually 15), which depending on the country might exclude a non-trivial number of workers. 18

Establishment surveys collect data on employment and working hours as reported by employers. 19 But because hours are reported by employers, these surveys often only cover paid or contractual hours and exclude self-employment, informal work, and some smaller firms. 20 On the other hand, establishment surveys provide more detail on the industry of work than other surveys, and are more consistent with how GDP is measured, making them useful for studying labor productivity.

References: ^( ^( ^( ^( ^(