More hours actually worked in Q2 than Q1 2021

During the second quarter of 2021, employed people aged between 20-64 years in the EU worked 3.0 % more hours in total in their main job when compared with the first quarter of 2021. Increases were recorded across most of the Member States. The largest increase in the volume of actual working hours was observed in Greece (+18.0 %). In contrast, employed people in six Member States worked fewer hours in their main job during the second quarter of 2021; the decrease ranged between -0.2 % (in Luxembourg) to -3.6 % (in Belgium).

Information on the short-term development of working hours provides perspective to the labour input in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During this crisis, the labour market has been affected by measures taken by EU Member States to limit the spread of COVID-19. Some of these measures had either a direct or indirect effect on the number of working hours of employed people.


At EU level, the total actual hours worked by women increased slightly more (+3.3 %) than the total actual hours worked by men (+2.7 %). The higher increase for women than for men in working hours was reflected across most of the Member States. Some countries however stood out with a quite pronounced difference between both sexes. In Greece, for example, the actual hours worked by women in their main job increased by 23.9 %, while hours worked by men increased by 14.5 %.

The direction of change in actual hours worked in the main job was the same for men and women in most Member States, with both experiencing either an increase or a decrease. The only exceptions were Slovenia (where hours worked by women decreased by -0.1 %, in contrast to a 2.0 % increase in hours worked by men), Luxembourg (women: +0.7 %, men: -0.8 %) and Bulgaria (women: +0.4 %, men: -2.7 %).

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