Belgium's statistical office Statbel has produced new figures which demonstrate a spike in working hours for those employed in the service industry during the first quarter of 2022.
The rise can be attributed to a return to pre-pandemic levels seen in restaurants, hotels and airports.
The hours worked by individual employees may decrease as employers go on hiring sprees for the summer tourist rush, with job creation expected to rise in all three regions of Belgium this summer.
Other industries such as construction saw a decrease in hours worked (1.3%) or a marginal increase, as was also seen in the trade and repair sector (4.3%).
The average hours worked across all working industries have nearly recovered since a sharp drop in 2020. Hours worked in 2019 were 120 in the first quarter of the year in the service industry, and now is at 119 in the first quarter of 2022. Construction industry workers are clocking two fewer hours worked in 2022 compared to 2019.
The trade and repair sector saw a similar dip in hours worked, from a total of 104 in 2019 to a total of 102 in 2022. Trade and repair refer to jobs including motor vehicle maintenance, plumbing and landscape maintenance.
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The hours worked are defined as "hours paid for" and include the general working day plus paid for but not worked — such as paid annual leave — paid public holidays, paid sick leave, paid meal breaks and time spent travelling between the home and the workplace.