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4 Min. Read

How Many Hours Do People Work in a Year: Calculation

Having a good life/work balance is key to modern living. With the rise of more people working from home or working remotely, we’ve seen the conversation of life/work balance becoming more prominent.

It's important to look at the average number of hours you work in a year and compare it to the national average. By doing this you can go some way to figuring out whether you have a good balance.

It’s a known fact that the average American works longer hours than most people in the western world. In fact, Americans work on average 258 hours more than the European average each year. That works out to an extra hour per working day.

But when you break it down, how many hours do people work in a year in the United States? We’ll take a closer look at the math behind it all and give you an idea as to whether you’re working too hard.

Here’s What We’ll Cover:

Working Hours: A Breakdown

Paid Holiday and Paid Time Off

What Is the Difference Between Paid Holiday and Paid Time Off?

Key Takeaways

Working Hours: A Breakdown

If you work full-time hours, then the typical workweek is around 40 hours per week. That’s 8 hours per day for 5 days a week. There are 52 weeks in a year, so therefore the average number of working hours in a year is 2,080.

Simple right?

However, very rarely does anybody actually work 2,080 hours in a year. If you do, you may want to have a chat with your employer about including some breaks in your work year.

Throughout the year, most businesses will accommodate for time off. These include employee sick days, paid holidays, paid time off and other work absences.

So if we assume 8 paid holidays and 10 days of paid time off, that takes off 18 workdays throughout the year. That means that - without taking any other unpaid days off - the average worker will work 1,936 annual hours.

Paid Holiday and Paid Time Off

As an employer or an employee, it’s important to understand the difference between paid holiday and paid time off.

The U.S. federal government doesn’t require businesses to provide their employees with paid vacation. Still, most businesses will typically offer between 5 and 15 days of paid time off per year. This averages out at 10 days per year.

Out of all the advanced countries in the world, the United States is the only one that does not offer its workers paid vacation days or paid holidays. This is because Federal law doesn’t provide for vacation pay as the Fair Labor Standards Act does not require payment for time not worked.

What Is the Difference Between Paid Holiday and Paid Time Off?

Paid Holiday

Paid holiday days are days that are recognized by the federal government as public holidays. There are 8 days that are currently recognized as holidays:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Inauguration Day
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Juneteenth National Independence Day
  • George Washington’s Birthday
  • Memorial Day
  • Labor Day
  • Independence Day

Private employers are not required to offer employees days off for these holidays.

Paid Time Off

It’s a standard practice to offer a benefits package to employees that includes some form of paid time off.

It’s a good way to improve employee morale and motivation.

Examples of paid time off could be through:

  • Sick days
  • Vacation Time
  • Personal Days
  • Federally recognized holidays

Once again, these are considered a benefit and are not required by federal labor law.

Key Takeaways

Whether you are just entering the workforce or have been working for a number of years, it’s important to understand your working hours.

Knowing your hours can help you identify whether your work/life balance is healthy. You can also understand your hourly rate and your annual income.

By understanding these things, you can make more informed decisions when it comes to a shift in your career or changing your job altogether.

It’s important to understand your value as a worker and make sure that you’re not burning yourself out for poor pay. By tracking your time and making sure you are fairly compensated, you can go some way to improving your mental and physical health. As well as improving your overall wellbeing.

Are you looking for more business advice on everything from starting a new business to new business practices?


Then check out the FreshBooks Resource Hub.


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