Work time

work time is defined as the time, in which humans of a work follow. Usually this designation refers to a entgeltliche activity, which serves for the safety device of living costs.

The length of the work time is normally regulated in the work contract and has frequently direct influence on thoseComputation of the remuneration for the performed work. The basic conditions of the permitted work time are fixed in the work time law.

Wöchentliche Arbeitszeit aller Vollzeitbeschäftigten in der EU 2002
Weekly work time of all full time persons employed in the European Union 2002

table of contents

to work time changes

a change of the work time can economically two effects moving in opposite directions with itself bring.

shorter hours

on the one hand lower shorter hours the work offer. In particular into that1970er years applied it therefore as preferential means for the dismantling of unemployment. A goal is a fairer distribution of work time under the population able to work. The job market reacts according to this theory to the sunk purchasing power, by a part of the employable ones one expenditure-borders and their work time on zeroone sets (unemployed persons). Instead the risen active volume is according to this theory (i.e. the sum total of the work time of all persons employed) on all employees to be divided. In the case of occupation everything is larger the purchasing power (normal earnings/services instead of unemployment pay) and therefore is not the present, but the risen active volumeto divide. In addition it comes still that the required active volume rises smaller than required additional production, because at shorter work time the productivity rises.

As the largest problem the wage question is often treated. Shorter work times can (however not to have!) to higher (lower) wage costses lead and thus to onesinking (rising) demand for work. Proponents of shorter hours justify the sinking wage costses when correct change the basic conditions with the fact that a rearrangement of the work leads to smaller unemployment and thus smaller ancillary wages and deliveries. With economically correct lowering of the deliveries - i.e. the state makes itsTasks concerning the basic conditions for the economy correctly - the net wage remains sinking at least constantly, the wage costses, even if the gross wage is lowered “only” according to the shorter work time, because thereby the productivity rises at the same time and also more, than before there more person employed remains for the stateDeliveries carry and from the deliveries no more unemployed persons out to be financed must.

The part-time job already gives a reference to this circumstances. If the gross hourly wages are independent of the work time, then the gross wage sinks according to the Verkürzung of the work time. The decrease of the net wage is however not proportionalshorter hours, since by the progressive income tax rate the net wage nettolohnverkürzung precipitates smaller. Nevertheless the net wage loss prevents many employees to accept a partial time place.

Also history gives a further reference to this circumstances. Despite sinking work time the wage costses and the delivery arising rose. Nevertheless the incomesas necessarily did not rise (keyword debts) is connected with the change of the delivery regulations.


Wöchentliche Arbeitszeit aller abhängig Beschäftigten in der EU 2002
work time of all dependently persons employed in the European Union 2002 on the other hand

shorter hours the labour costs increase work time extension, so long the Verkürzung of the work time with receipt of the net wage not from an appropriateShortening the deliveries is accompanied. That applies, even if the wages sink equally like the work time, because fixed costs remain alike like the treatment of personnel, out and further training even at shorter work times. The overcoming from economic weakness periods therefore work time extensions without wage adjustment become in Germanydemanded. The hoped for economical effect is smaller hourly wages and thus reduced wage costses, which increased to an increase labor demand lead are.

As additional effect one expects a better use of the human capital of a society. The experience showed that a part during shorter hourswon spare time for work in the own household (or for moonlighting) one uses. Thus partial highly-qualified - and often in demand - worker is taken by the market and geringqualifzierte (e.g. the computer scientist, who cuts its hedge) brought on the market. Unemployment of small-qualified rises, during in othersPrevails to groups of qualifications partial lack of skilled worker.

Against an expansion of the work offer stands (see above). Which of the two effects - which decrease of the work offer by shorter or the increase of the labor demand by longer work times - outweighs, is empirically disputed.

work time making

additional also always becomesagain work time making discusses, which deviate from the model of the rule work time. Thus different models are meant modular work time, teleworking, time-autonomous working groups , work on call , like yearly work time, work time accounts, flexible working hours , confidence work time , part-time employment, job division, life work accounts, individual work time and Sabbatical. With the computation of wages different models are put to reason. There are employer-employee relationships, in which only the respective working hours are remunerated and other, at which a firm monthly basic remuneration is paid to the time of presence dependent on the number of working days independently. Altogetherseen, a smaller actual number of hours worked per week facilitates making flexible substantially, since to more recreational areas can be fallen back. The health and social effects hang very strongly of concrete rules (e.g. Announcement periods of changes), of the surrounding field (e.g. Traffic, care of children) and of it off whether persons employed themselves relevant influence upthe definition of the times have. The concrete forms and the spreading of flexible work time models differ very strongly from country to country.


with exception of the past 10 years is in Europe a trend to shorter work times to determine (among other things in partial time). Alsodue to the technical progress also far sinking, but more flexible work times one counts on a long-term basis. Spoken with the income won by the production increase - economicalally: by the renouncement of wage increases - spare time is bought. Rise of the work time is regarded of employer side as meaningful or even inevitably. Ifbut the market does not grow, asks themselves one, where with produziertern the goods? If also still the productivity rises, a very good thing, where then with again the additionally produced goods?

life work time

the life work time might be indifferent. Despite relative increase of the pensioners(because of few children and risen life expectancy) the standard of living of all (pensioners and persons employed) can rise, since the productivity in the course of the years rises enormously. That already recognized the father of the pension system Germany Wilfrid writer 1955. With the deliveries it affects itself in such a way that thoserelative deliveries slowly rise - however of the remaining net wage the persons employed can buy ever more, because the productivity rises.

On the other side rises not only the life expectancy of the pensioners, but also their Rüstigkeit, so that ever more pensioner from the working life do not separatewould like. Since however the productivity rises faster than the purchase desires grows (which is expressed in the fact that more is saved instead of according to more to buy), the individual work time must sink exactly as before further (of 3000 h/Jahr around 1900 on under 1400 h/Jahr today).

Into that1970er to 1990er years had been tried to diminish unemployment over a low life work time (thus a preferred beginning of pension). Since that is now hardly still made there, unemployment rises and the purchasing power lacking of pensioners and unemployed persons increases unemployment.

In relation to the total lifetime is however also the life work time in the past decades sunk. Thus was to 20 year old ones during introduction of the old age pension insurance the life expectancy at approximately 58 years, so that the “average citizen” did not experience the pensionable age (the pension entrance age was at that time besides still with 70). Today the average 20-year old can Man hope to become 77 years old still approximately further 57 years to live (thus). For women this number lies even still far more highly. Even with an expected rise of the life expectancy around two years in Germany is the portion of the work time of the total lifetime thussunk.

shift work

shift work distinguishes that several persons work at different times on the same job or at the same task of work (z. B. in the early and in the evening) or persons very unusual times work (z. B. primarily at the night). Shift work leadsto increased physical and psychosocial load and brings also higher error and accident risks with itself. The spreading of shift work is very different from country to country. In the old was contained additionally still another definition of the change shift work ASKED.

situation in Germany

Jahresarbeitszeit aller Voll- und Teilzeitbeschäftigten in Stunden
yearly work time of allFull and partial time person employed in hours

in the process 20. Century was to be observed in Germany a constant Verkürzung of the number of hours worked per week:

  • 1900 10-grants Arbeitstag/6-Tage week
  • 1918/19 8-Stunden working day legally introduced
  • 1955/56 5-Tage week gradually introduced
  • 1965 40-Stunden week introduced
  • 1990 35-Stunden week gradually imported

with 40,9To working hours per week Germany lies today over the European average of 39,1 hours. There is however different numbers in the circulation. Thus the European Union commission came in a sample on 39,9 hours per week and a European average of 40,0 hours left

at the vacation period is appropriate for Germanywith 29,1 days in the year clearly over the European Union average (25.9 days). However only 10 strike days were allotted between 2000 and 2002 to 1000 employees. Thus Germany lies in the third of the European Union countries, in which to few one strikes; in Spain the employees in the same period struck489 days long, in Italy 433 source: DIW. In Germany the average work time is regulated by the work time law (ArbZG).

In some industries in Germany laws concerning the work time are frequently broken. An example is the forwarding business industry, in that every now and then work times of over 70Seem to hours per week.

work time needed standard of living as

standard of living indicator: To work time for 1 kg of apples and butter in Germany in the Zeitverlauf

see standard of living

see also


Web on the left of




  • franc Lorenz, Günter cutter (Hrsg.): Confidence work time, work time accounts, Flexi models. 2005, ISBN 3899651081

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