The BBC Reported the results of research undertaken by a team on Finnish Academics on the link between long working hours and the appearance of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.
2214 Civil servants were assessed for the effects of long working hours over a 5 year period.
It was found that Alzheimer type symptoms were displayed with a loss of some short term memory, problems with reasoning, and difficulty with word recall, where long hours (55+hours per week) were worked.
Read the full academic report
Is this a problem for UK? – Read on and visit our page entitled "Work life balance"
UK working week – extract of report from the European Industrial Relations Observatory Online
Survey of Working Hours throughout the Entire 27 EC Countries.
The report shows what has been the British experience for nearly a century.- that the UK has the longest working week of any West European Country.
The detailed figures for 2007 are as follows (the ranking is in parenthesis with some interesting country comparisons) :-
Collective Bargaining Agreed Hours per Working Week
UK – 37.3 hours (3rd shortest -Denmark 37, France 35, Bulgaria/Estonia 40)
Actual Working Hours per Working Week
UK – 41.4 hours (3rd longest – Bulgaria 41.7, Estonia 40.7, Spain 39, Fr. 37.7)
Statutory Working Week
UK – 48 hours (longest, but shared by many others, Bulgaria/Estonia 40)
Statutory Maximum Hours per Working Day
UK 13 hours (one of longest though several the same,Bulgaria/Estonia 8, Fr 10)
Collective Bargain Agreed Hours for Civil Service
UK 36 hours ( 4th shortest, though an average, Inland Revenue 41-42, Bulgaria/Estonia 40, France 35,Italy 32.9!!
The figures confirm what has been known for many years.
- The UK has some of the longest working hours in the western world.
- The difference between agreed working hours and actual is a cultural matter. Almost certainly a covert way of converting some standard pay to overtime pay to increase the actual weekly pay packet. This is connived at by UK management and the Trade Unions. By contrast foreign employers in the UK (Japanese, South Korean etc) apply annualised hours with a guaranteed weekly wage. Actual working hours are “flexed”to meet seasonal production needs.
- The long hours worked in the UK will have a massive impact on Work/Life Balance. By contrast the more evenly applied approach of foreign employers must be beneficial. However I have not investigated whether any research has been undertaken to test this.
- The Statutory Rules on working hours seem to enshrine the subterfuge on pay rates/hours that UK management and the work force seem indulge in
- The figures on the Civil Service make it tempting to draw the conclusion
- that they make sure that they work reasonable hours. However see the other appendix entitled “Long Working Hours and Alzheimer’s that seems to refute this.