Time off leading to longer hours

Well-meaning but misguided politicians have created Europe’s long working hours culture by introducing social policies that allow people too much time off, according to the Federation of European Employers (FEE).

The contentious claim comes a week after the UK succeeded in retaining its opt-out from the EU Working Time Directive.

The FEE research has suggested that many European Union employees work well in excess of their basic contractual hours, mainly to cover for colleagues taking time off.

In Belgium, France and The Netherlands, more than 20% of employees were absent from work at any given time, rising to 29.9% in Sweden, it said.

The research also argued that UK employees, who work an average of 44.8 hours a week, do not work the longest hours in Europe, as is often thought. Their hours are much the same as employees in Austria (44.7), and fewer than staff in The Netherlands (45.5).

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