newsBusinessTech reports that data compiled by Oxford University researchers at Our World in Data shows that South African employees work some of the longest hours in the world – but other data published by the group shows that we’re not very productive.  

Oxford’s data traces working hours in over 50 countries between 1950 and 2017, showing which countries had the highest average number of hours worked per employee, annually.  In 2017, SA ranked as one of the longest-working nations, recording 2,209 hours per year – on par with countries like Costa Rica, below nations like Mexico, Myanmar and Cambodia.  This aligns with data from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which also ranks SA as one of top countries for working hours.  However, while ILO data shows that South Africans do put in extra hours, there are many other countries who work harder, and others are simply more productive.  The latest ILO statistics for SA (2018) shows that a significant portion of our labour force of 16.4 million works more than 49 hours a week (21% – or about 3.5 million people).  However, the majority of workers still fall into the 40-48 hour range.  This range is in line with South African labour laws, which puts the maximum normal working time allowed at 45 hours weekly – or nine hours per day – and is the most common range for workers around the world.


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