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Europeans worked fewer hours in 2020

Eurostat offers insights into a year of working in the pandemic

As a result of the pandemic and national lockdown measures, the way we work has drastically changed. Eurostat figures show that overall, in 2020, Europeans have collectively worked roughly 12% less, in terms of working hours, compared to 2019.

This is partially due to COVID-19 response measures such as lockdowns, which led many people to be more absent from their job than before. 

At the national level, the hours worked declined across all Member States. The highest declines are for Greece (-19.7%), Spain (-19.5%), Portugal and Italy (both -19.0%). Some EU countries experienced only a small change, for example Finland (-4.4%), Denmark and Luxembourg (both -4.1%), and the Netherlands (-3.2%).

Not only have the working hours decreased, the number of people working less than their usual hours also increased. Throughout the EU, 26.9 million employed people reported to have worked less than their usual hours in 2020 (compared to 24.4 million in 2019). This is mainly the result of temporary lay-offs. 

Want to see these numbers visualised in a graph or looking for more details? Find more information and the full dataset via Eurostat.

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