Working time around the world

This pioneering study is the first of its kind to offer a comparative analysis of working time trends in developing and transition countries. This is a co-publication with Routledge Publishers

Based on a series of 14 national studies undertaken between 2001-2005 to track trends in hours of work and the organization of working time, this book examines the diverse, and often complex, circumstances that exist the following countries: Brazil, Chile, China, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Korea, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Peru, the Russian Federation, Senegal and Tunisia. The study also analyses data from an even broader range of countries, drawing from: the ILO's new database of working time laws; existing ILO data on average weekly working hours; and a new standardized questionnaire collecting data on the distribution of weekly working hours from national statistics. Thus, the study provides the richest array of data ever assembled for analysing working time in the developing world.

What comes to light is that traditional working time concerns, such as long hours combined with inadequate rest periods, remain a concern in many countries. At the same time, new issues associated with deregulation and more flexible working time arrangements (such as part-time work and compressed workweeks) are becoming increasingly significant, not only in industrialized countries, but in parts of the developing world as well.

The book identifies broad trends in working time at the national level, including cross-country and sectoral variations. It also considers the structure and dynamics underlying the national working time trends, including changes in economic structure, such as "tertiarization" (i.e., the expanding service sector) and informalization, as well as the specific circumstances of particular groups of workers, such as those with family responsibilities and older workers.

The book concludes with a set of policy recommendations that are designed to apply the "decent working time" framework put forth in a previous volume, Decent Working Time, to the very different realities which exist in developing and transition countries.