No wonder we’re envious.
The French say workers should do 35 hours a week. The Brits tend to be at their desks for 37.5. Meanwhile, Americans in full-time jobs work 47 hours a week on average.
Now researchers say they have picked the perfect number. It’s 39.
A study from the Australian National University (ANU) shows that the work limit for a healthy life should come in at just under 40 hours a week instead of the 48 hours set internationally about 80 years ago.
“Long work hours erode a person’s mental and physical health,” said lead researcher Dr. Huong Dinh from the ANU Research School of Population Health, “because it leaves less time to eat well and look after themselves properly.”
Dinh said shortening the number of hours is particular important for women. “They spend much more time on care and domestic work,” he said. “Given the extra demands placed on women, it’s impossible for women to work long hours often expected by employers unless they compromise their health.”
In fact, the study, which looked at a sample of Australians aged from 24 to 65, even advocates that women should only work for 34 hours per week once their home-based chores are considered. The healthy work limit for men was up to 47 hours a week because they spend much less time on care or domestic work than women.
“Given the extra demands placed on women,” Dinh said, “it’s impossible for women to work long hours often expected by employers unless they compromise their health.”
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