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Belgians work on average 63% of the 38-hour weekly maximum

Belgian employees work on average 24 hours and three minutes per week, 63% of the weekly maximum of 38 hours, according to a study by the Acerta human resources company. The study was based on an analysis of the work contracts of 40,000 persons on permanent contracts.

In 2017, the average Belgian employee had work contracts of 32.8 hours per week, representing 86.4% of full-time work, in companies with 38-hour work weeks. In 2014, that rate was 85.5%.

Employees do not generally work the exact number of hours stipulated in their contract with their employers since holidays, leave days, time credit and technical unemployment are also included. Acerta therefore calculated that Belgians actually worked on average 73.3% of the total time indicated on their contracts.

The number of hours worked also depends on the size of the company, according to the human resources service provider. An employee of a small company works 18% longer than the hours stipulated in his/her contract, as against someone working in a business with 500 employees. According to Acerta, this is because big companies have greater sick-leave rates than small ones. Moreover, employees of large businesses make greater use of time-credits or parental leave.

“They also conclude more labour agreements giving employees additional leave days,” Acerta consultant Dirk Wijns explained.

If the contractual working time is compared to actual time worked on a 38-hour-per-week contract, it appears that the average Belgian employee really works an average of 63.2% of those hours, i.e. 24 hours and three minutes, Acerta noted.

The older the employee, the lower the percentage of time that they actually work, according to the data provided in the study. In the 20-30 age group, the average rate is 66.9%, as against 59.7% for 50-60 year olds and 58.8% for those aged 60 and above.

The Brussels Times