Working hours in Finland in 2023

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This week in our blog, we look at some stats concerning working hours in Finland in 2023. In some of our earlier blogs, we’ve discussed some basic concepts relating to working hours and how working hours are regulated in Finland. Two years ago, we presented some stats that showed employees’ working hours in practice in 2021. Today, we revisit that topic and discuss these actualities for 2023. 

This discussion is based on a recent data release by Statistics Finland

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Some basic concepts

When Statistics Finland presents information about the hours employees in Finland work, they use specific terms. We present those terms and their definitions here. This way it becomes clear what we are talking about at any given moment.

One regularly used term is usual weekly working hours (tavanomainen viikkotyöaika). This refers to the employee’s normal weekly working hours in their main job. This may also include overtime hours if working overtime is habitual. Absences do not diminish this number.

Another term that you’ll encounter in this blog is hours worked (tehty viikkotyöaika). It means the actual number of hours the employee worked during the survey week. This includes also overtime in the primary job and any hours worked in a possible secondary job. Absences are deducted from this number.

The third and final term is annual hours actually worked per employed (tehty vuosityöaika). This is a mathematical concept. It is derived from dividing the number of all hours worked in a year by the annual average of employed persons. 

Now that we have the concepts down, let’s look at what we know about working hours in Finland in 2023.

Working hours in Finland in 2023

As we explained in a blog published in 2019, the Working Hours Act says that the normal number of weekly working hours in Finland is 40. In reality, in many jobs employees’ normal working hours are lower than that with collective agreements. This, however, refers to a standard that doesn’t take into account habitual overtime or any other deviation from the norm. Those deviations show in the recently published stats.  

Usual weekly working hours

Statistics Finland tells us that in 2023 usual weekly working hours were between 35 and 40 hours for 68 % of employees. 

For 8 % of employees, the usual weekly work hours were over 40. These longer usual weekly working hours were more common for entrepreneurs and their family members (33%). The same is true for those in upper management. 11 % of them had these longer hours.

For 21 % of employees, the usual weekly work hours were lower than 35 hours. For this 21 %, their usual weekly working hours were between 30 and 34 hours. These shorter usual weekly working hours were more common for entrepreneurs and their family members (33 %), but less so for people working in upper management (15 %).

If we look at only those employees who were working full-time, those in management positions had the longest usual weekly working hours (41.3 hrs). Plant and machine operators, and assemblers had almost as long usual weekly working hours with 41 hrs. 

Annual hours actually worked

In 2023, the average annual hours actually worked was 1 553 hours per employed person. This is lower than in 2022 (1 568 hrs) and in 2021 (1 593 hrs). 

The annual hours worked for employees was 1 523 per employee in 2023. This is 9 hours less than in 2022. There was a reduction in the annual hours worked both in the private and municipal sectors. In the government sector, the annual hours worked stayed the same. 

Overall, annual hours worked are lower in the public sector compared to the private sector. In the last 10 years, this overall trend has been the same: annual hours worked are higher in the private sector. The closest the annual hours worked were between these two sectors was in 2020. Within the public sector, annual hours worked are lower in the municipal sector than in the government sector. 

In the private sector, the annual hours worked were highest in 2017 when they were around 1 640 hours. In the public sector, the annual hours worked were highest between 2016 and 2020 hovering around 1 550 hours. Since then, the annual hours worked have dipped below 1 500 hours for the public sector. In the private sector, they are now around 1 550.  

Gender differences

In 2023, the average usual weekly working hours for all employees was 35 hrs. For men, however, this was higher. Their usual weekly working hours were 36.7 hrs. For women, instead, it was 33.4 hrs. 

Men’s actual working hours were also higher than women’s in 2023. Women’s hours worked in 2023 was 31.8 hrs whereas men’s was 35.4 hrs. 

Women employees are more often than men employed only part-time. In 2023, there were 425 000 employees which is 19 % of all employees. Of all female employees, 24 % worked part-time. The same figure for men was 13 %. This difference in the proportion of part-time employees also affects the average usual working hours of men and women. 

If we look at only the part-timers, both women’s usual weekly hours and their hours worked are higher than for men working part-time. The Statistics Finland statistics release didn’t provide any reasons for this difference. However, the roots for the difference likely lies in the gender segregation of the Finnish labor market. Women and men tend to work in different fields. For example, women tend to work in healthcare and social services where part-time work is common. The same is true for retail sales where women tend to work. It is likely that the pattern of part-time work is different in the fields where women and men part-timers work. 

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