Employment, by actual hours worked

On average, Canadians are working fewer actual hours a week

  • Over the long term, the average number of actual hours that Canadians work has been trending down. In 2007, when factoring in overtime and hours lost into the usual work week, the average Canadian worked 33.3 hours per week, down 0.9 hours from 1997. Men worked an average of 36.9 hours per week (down 1.2 hours from 1997), while women worked 29.3 hours (down 0.2 hours). While the long-term tendency has been toward shorter hours, in the last five years, actual hours have hovered around the 33-hour mark.

  • Although the 40-hour work week was the most common kind of work week among employed Canadians, a smaller proportion worked it in 2007 compared to 1997 (22.6% versus 24.4%). Since 1997, fewer workers were working very long (50 or more) and very short (1 to 14) hours.

  • A larger share of workers are also clocking in zero hours during their work week in 2007 than in 1997 (8.7% versus 7.8%). Growth in these full-week absences is mostly due to more people taking time off for vacations, own illness or disability and personal or family responsibilities (including maternity or parental leave). More women than men take full-week absences from work, as women take time off for maternity or parental leave or both.

Chart H.3
Distribution of employment, by actual hours worked per week, 1997 and 2007

Chart H.3 Distribution of employment, by actual hours worked per week, 1997 and 2007

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, CANSIM table 282-0018.

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