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German work week getting longer

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Photo: DPA
08:01 CEST+02:00
Germans work more per week than their counterparts in most other European Union countries, a study published on Friday by daily Die Welt reported.

The EU study, conducted in 2008, found that Germans worked an average of 41.2 hours each week, compared to 39.6 hours in 2003. German workers are technically only allowed to work some 37.6 hours, according to union agreements, but the paper said most people work longer due to overtime or jobs that aren't governed by such agreements.

The increase put Germany in company with Romania, the Czech Republic and Austria. Romania topped the list with an average 41.8-hour work week, while France came in last with just 38.4 hourse each week.

“This damages family life and probably hinders long-term health,” Acting General Secretary for the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) Reiner Hoffmann told the paper. “Those who want there to be more jobs in a time of higher unemployment must divide the work across many shoulders instead of allowing fewer people to work increasingly long hours.”

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Hoffmann also speculated that the number of hours workers actually work is at least 3.6 hours more than union wage agreements specify.

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