Page last updated at 14:42 GMT, Thursday, 4 September 2008 15:42 UK

UK work week among EU's longest

UK workers work longer than their EU counterparts for less holiday

UK workers are among the hardest working people in Europe, with only Romanians and Bulgarians putting in longer hours, new research shows.

UK workers in full-time jobs put in an average of 41.4 hours every week, one and a half hours more than the average for the 27 members of the EU.

The French and Italians worked the fewest hours - with an average of 37.7 and 38.4 hours per week.

The UK workers also get less annual leave than the average EU worker.

Bulgaria - 41.7
Romania - 41.7
UK - 41.4
Czech Republic - 41.2
Austria - 41.1
Source: Eurofound

The research was compiled by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), an organisation founded by the EU.

The group said that there was a substantial gap between the length of the working week in Eastern and Western Europe.

It found that the working hours in the 12 countries that have joined the EU since enlargement began in 2004, work longer than the original 15 members - 40.6 hours a week compared with 39.5.

France - 37.7
Italy - 38.4
Denmark - 38.6
Portugal - 38.8
Belgium - 38.8

Slovakia was the only new EU member to have recorded a considerable reduction in working hours over the past few years, it said.

The average number of fully paid days of annual leave for EU workers is 25.2 days, with UK workers getting an average of 24.6 days.

Weekly hours worked by male full-time employees exceeded those of their female counterparts, with men working 2.3 hours more than women in the 27 EU member states.

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