Average work hours decline

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Norwegians are spending less time than ever on the job. They worked an average of just 30 hours per week last year, on an annualized basis, according to state statistics bureau SSB.

SSB figures produced for news organization Mandag Morgen showed that Norwegians on average worked 1,414 hours in 2010. That’s fully 600 hours less than in 1960, when Norway had a standard six-day work week.

The decline is the result of a shorter work week (35-37.5 hours at most companies), more vacation days, more sick leave, more part-time workers and more social welfare leave granted per worker (including parental leave, now shared by mothers and fathers). Only 6 percent of the work was conducted by sole proprietors, who generally work more than salaried employees.

Some researchers think the number of hours spent at work will continue to decline, because many feel they earn enough money and would rather have more free time than higher pay.

Meanwhile, Norway’s central bank has predicted that more foreigners will come to Norway to work in the years ahead, lured by relatively high wages and demand for imported labour. Nearly 326,000 foreigners were working in Norway at the end of 2009, reported newspaper Aftenposten earlier this month, making up nearly 13 percent of the country’s workforce.

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