Tuesday, April 12, 2011

OECD Study: Canada Ranks #4 for Most Work Hrs per Day, USA #9, Mexico #1

A new study released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operaton and Development (OECD) which involves the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, The United Kingdom, and The United States, shows that Canada ranks 4th overall in the OECD for Total Paid and Unpaid Hours worked per day at 8.62 daily hours. The study shows that Mexico has the highest total hours worked per day with 9.91, Japan is in 2nd with 9.01, and the United States is 9th overall with 8.27.

Here's the story from the OECD website:
OECD: Who’s busiest: working hours and household chores across OECD
Mexicans work longer days than anyone else in OECD countries, devoting 10 hours to paid and unpaid work, such as cleaning or cooking at home. Belgians work the least, at 7 hours, compared with an OECD average of 8 hours a day.

A special chapter in the report looks at unpaid work, such as cooking, cleaning, caring, and shopping, in 26 OECD countries, as well as China, India and South Africa.

Most unpaid work is housework. Mexicans do the most, at more than 3 hours per day, and Koreans the least, at 1 hour and 19 minutes. Much of this time is spent cooking. Americans spend the least time cooking each day (30 minutes) and Turks the most in the OECD (74 minutes). Most people spend around 50 minutes a day cooking.

Shopping also makes up a big part of unpaid work. Most people in OECD countries spend 23 minutes a day shopping, with the French spending the most (32 minutes) and the Koreans the least (13 minutes).

I took the liberty of pulling the data provided in the report into 3 tables. The first which ranks the Countries by Total Paid and Unpaid Hours of Work per Day. The second which ranks Countries by Total Paid Hours of Work per Day (the REAL ranking if you ask me, though Canada actually did worse in that one). And third which ranks the Countries by Total Unpaid Hours of Work per Day.

Countries Ranked by Total Paid and Unpaid Hours of Work per Day

Countries Ranked by Total Paid Hours of Work per Day

Countries Ranked by Total Unpaid Hours of Work per Day

After doing some digging in the actual text of the report, I found the following qualification about these numbers that must be noted when reviewing the results:

While the average daily paid working time seems low at first sight, it should be borne in mind that these figures cover weekdays and weekend days, as well as holiday periods, and include
both employed and non-employed individuals.
So, if you're wondering -like I was- why the numbers appear to be so low, then this hopefully should clear that up for you.  And if you want to get technical, taking a typical Canadian work day of 8 hours per day, multiplying that by 5 work days per week, and then dividing that by 7 days (to include the weekend), you end up with 8 hours x 5 days = 40 hours / 7 days = 5.71 paid work hours per day (which when compared to the noted 5.34 in the study, is pretty close to bang on, especially if you include the unemployed which would cause the 5.71 number to drop). 

Now, if you want to get really technical, and talk about our Public Sector Unionized Workers, then we're talking about 2 hours of paid true work per day, so 2 hours x 5 days = 10 hours / 7 days = 1.4 paid work hours per day!  Relax Unionites, I'm just kidding........no I'm not.  ;)

Also, for those of you who are wondering what exactly "Unpaid" work is supposed to be defined as, here is the definition as noted in the above-mentioned document:
Defining unpaid work
Unpaid work is the production of goods and services by household members that are not sold on the market. Some unpaid work is for the consumption within the family, such as cooking, gardening and house cleaning. The products of unpaid work may also be consumed by people not living in the household, e.g. cooking a meal for visiting friends, helping in a soup kitchen for homeless people, mowing the lawn of an elderly relative, or coaching the local football team.
The boundary between unpaid work and leisure is determined by the so-called “third-person”
criterion. If a third person could hypothetically be paid to do the activity, it is considered to be work. Cooking, cleaning, child care, laundry, walking the dog and gardening are therefore all examples of unpaid work. On the other hand, someone else cannot be paid to watch a movie, play tennis, or silently read a book on another’s behalf as the benefits of the activity would accrue to the doer (the third person), and not to the hirer (Ironmonger, 1996). These activities are therefore considered as leisure.
Some unpaid work, e.g. playing with children, walking the dog, cooking or tending a garden, is
often enjoyable, depending on the state of mind and other time pressures (see Society at a Glance 2009 on reported enjoyment of various activities). The satisfaction from the activity is a benefit that cannot be transferred to another person. Similarly, many people derive a great deal of personal satisfaction from paid work and enjoy their time spent in their job. Thus the level of enjoyment of the person doing the activity cannot be used as a criterion to distinguish between work and leisure (Hill, 1979).


Derived from OECD Study: OECD: Who's busiest: working hours and household chores across OECD
Data pulled from Study's Embedded Excel Document at: Download the underlying data in Excel


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