Whether you find yourself immersed in the constant cycle of a bustling office, navigating the intricacies of remote work, or balancing multiple part-time gigs, the question lingers: How many hours do you actually dedicate to work in a year?
We’ll aim to answer that question in this article, navigating the twists and turns of holidays, vacations, sick time, personal time, etc. Once you’ve fully grasped the amount of time you spend at work, we’ll offer up some useful tools and strategies designed to ensure you’re making the best use of your professional efforts.
How many hours are in a year?
Calculating the number of working hours in a year can be achieved via a simple calculation:
Days in a year (365) x hours in a day (24) = 8,760
Total working hours in a year
Defining the total working hours in a year is a bit more complicated. Assuming a worker completes eight-hour shifts, five days a week, across all 52 weeks in a year, the maximum number of working hours would fit this equation:
(8 hours x 5 days) x 52 weeks = 2,080 working hours
Average working hours in a year
While there are 2,080 available hours to work, most workers are privy to holidays and time off (paid and/or unpaid) for vacation days, sick leave, personal time, bereavement, parental leave, sabbaticals, etc. So, that equation must be altered to accommodate each individual’s paid/personal time off (PTO) benefit schedule.
To create such an equation, you have to subtract your total time off (holidays and allotted PTO) from the maximum available working hours (2,080). For example, let’s assume your employer grants you 12 personal days and nine holidays, totaling 21 days. To determine the number of working hours this represents, multiply 21 (days off) by eight (the number of hours representing a full shift).
21 x 8 = 168 working hours
To determine your total working hours for the year, subtract 168 from the total 2,080 available working hours.
To turn this into a percentage, simply divide 168 (hours off) by the maximum number of working hours (2,080).
Thus, with 168 hours off, this worker is working 92% of the time with 8% off annually.
While each individual’s schedule will differ, a 2022 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report identified the average number of annual hours worked by Americans at approximately 1,768 hours. Another organization, the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development, determined the average to be 1,811 hours.
While those numbers may seem fairly lofty, the U.S. actually ranks No. 8 in average annual working hours, trailing Mexico, Korea, and Israel, among others, per the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development.
How much time off do/should workers get?
Since we’re working with two different values (1,768 and 1,811) representing the average number of annual hours worked, we need to find the mean of these two values to determine a true average. We achieve this by adding the values together and dividing by the number of values present (two).
(1,768 + 1,811) / 2 = 1,789 working hours
Thus, we’ve established 1,789 as the average hours an American works annually.
Next, we need to determine how many hours off the average American receives. To do this, we need to subtract 1,789 hours from the maximum available hours (2,080).
2,080 - 1,789 = 291 hours off annually
Turning this into a percentage shows us the average worker is working approximately 86% of the time, with 14% of his or her working time reserved for holidays or PTO.
291 / 2,080 = 0.1399 = 14%
Next, let’s determine the number of days this equates to. If you divide the number of working hours off per day by 8 (the average shift of an American worker), we learn American workers average 36 3/8 days off every year.
291 / 8 = 36.375 average days off per year
You may be asking, What does 3/8 of a day look like? To determine that, simply multiply an eight-hour shift by 3/8 (0.375).
The Fundamentals of Calculating Work Hours
When considering your time cards, it can be somewhat confusing to translate time to and from a decimal format to the HH:MM format. We’re here to help! Here’s an online calculator you can use to simplify the process.
In case you’d like to know how to perform the process by hand, here’s how it’s done:
Then, simply subtract the start time from the end time to obtain your total hours worked:
What if you have 15- or 30-minute increments? How does one translate that to HH:MM time? Good question! To translate decimal time to HH:MM time, you multiply the decimal portion of your time by 60. For example, if you stopped working at 1:30 p.m. rather than 2 p.m., that would leave you with 4.5 hours. To determine the HH:MM format, you’d strip the 0.5 portion from the 4.5 and multiply by 60 to determine the number of minutes.
Then, add back in your hours to complete the translation from decimal to HH:MM time: 4:30.
To translate HH:MM time to a decimal, you simply strip out the minutes portion of your time and divide by 60 (the total minutes in an hour). Using the example of 4:30 hours worked:
Then, add in your four hours worked to reach your 4.5-hour total.
You can learn more about this calculation by viewing our How to Convert Decimal Time to Hours and Minutes YouTube video.
How long is the average American workweek?
In America, much like most industrialized countries, the standard workweek traditionally begins on Monday and ends on Friday. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average workweek for all employees (including part-time) working in private industries amounted to about 34.5 hours in 2022. Over the course of one month, the U.S. workforce works about 3.9 billion hours in total.
The average workweek can differ heavily from industry to industries. Employee in the mining and logging industry worked about 45.5 hours a week in April 2023, while employees in private education and health services averaged 33.4 work hours per week that month.
Comparing the average hours worked per workweek across countries can be challenging due to differing philosophies on what activities qualify as work as well as who is considered a worker. That said, Build Remote compiled a list that ranks Mexico on top with 40.8 average hours worked per week. Spain, Ecuador, and Denmark round out the bottom of that list with 25.6-hour workweeks.
Work Hours vs. Non-Work Hours
Work hours are defined as the designated times during which individuals are expected to perform their job duties or engage in employment-related activities. In contrast, non-work hours are the periods outside of designated work hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.
What about breaks? Are they considered work or non-work hours? Breaks, defined as designated periods within the workday during which employees take a pause from regular tasks or responsibilities, are generally considered part of work hours, per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). These pauses are meant to provide individuals with an opportunity to rest, refresh, and recharge, ultimately contributing to improved focus and well-being during the remaining work hours.
The FLSA does not mandate employers provide lunch or coffee breaks. However, when employers do offer short breaks (usually lasting about five to 20 minutes), federal law considers them as compensable work hours that should be included in the sum of hours worked during the workweek and considered in determining overtime.
Meal periods (typically lasting at least 30 minutes) serve a different purpose than coffee or snack breaks and, thus, are not work time and are not compensable.
Full-Time Versus Part-Time
Per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a full-time employee is, for a calendar month, an employee employed, on average, at least 30 hours of service per week or 130 hours of service per month. Part-time employees generally work fewer than 30 hours per week or 130 hours per month.
Full-time employees are often eligible for benefits packages, including health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks. While part-time workers may have access to certain benefits, the extent and eligibility can vary per employer.
Federal vs. State Laws: PTO and Family Leave
A PTO day is time off that's compensated. In the U.S., PTO is not required at the federal level (most of the time), though 17 states and Washington, D.C., have mandatory paid sick leave laws as of January 2024. These states are:
Five states and Washington, D.C., currently offer paid family leave insurance programs, including:
In the U.S., there is no federal law mandating that employers must provide PTO for holidays. Holidays are paid at the discretion of each employer.
Eleven federal holidays are recognized nationwide. These include New Year's Day (Jan. 1), Martin Luther King Jr. Day (the third Monday in January), Washington's birthday (the third Monday in February), Memorial Day, (the last Monday in May), Juneteenth National Independence Day (June 19), Independence Day (July 4), Labor Day (the first Monday in September), Columbus Day (the second Monday in October), Veterans Day (Nov. 11), Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November), and Christmas Day (Dec. 25).
Many employers offer compensation for many (if not all) federal holidays as part of their benefits package or employment agreements, though the specifics of holiday pay, such as which holidays are covered and the amount of pay offered, vary between employers.
In the U.S., the average full-time employee receives 20 days off for vacations and holidays per year, states Our World in Data. This is lower than what many other countries offer, including Germany, which averages 43 days; the Netherlands, 38 days; and France, 35.
How do you calculate work hours per year?
To calculate work hours per year, you need to consider the standard workweek and the number of weeks you work in a year.
Define Your Workweek:
Identify the number of hours you work per day.
Multiply this by the number of days you work each week. For example, if you work eight hours a day, five days a week, your standard workweek is 40 hours.
Determine Weeks Worked Per Year:
Multiply your weekly work hours by the number of weeks you work in a year.
The maximum of hours available to be worked can be calculated by multiplying the max hours per week (40) by the number of weeks in a year (52).
Here’s a breakdown of various work schedules based on hours worked per workweek (without accounting for paid or unpaid time off).
- 20-hour workweek: 20 hours per week x 52 weeks in a year = 1,040 hours per year
- 25-hour workweek: 25 hours per week x 52 weeks in a year = 1,300 working hours per year
- 30-hour workweek: 30 hours per week x 52 weeks in a year = 1,560 working hours per year
- 35-hour workweek: 35 hours per week x 52 weeks in a year = 1,820 working hours per year
- 37.5-hour workweek: 37.5 hours per week x 52 weeks in a year = 1,950 working hours per year
- 45-hour workweek: 45 hours per week x 52 weeks in a year = 2,340 working hours per year
- 50-hour workweek: 50 hours per week x 52 weeks in a year = 2,600 working hours per year
- 55-hour workweek: 55 hours per week x 52 weeks in a year = 2,860 working hours per year
- 60-hour workweek: 60 hours per week x 52 weeks in a year = 3,120 working hours per year
Governing all those work hours isn't just a task; it's a strategic approach to achieving a harmonious and fulfilling life. Mastering your work schedule allows you to budget your time appropriately, granting you the professional competency necessary to complete tasks efficiently and on time.
Meticulously tracking how you spend your time is a proven way to accurately capture, record, and oversee the allocation of your time across diverse tasks, projects, or activities. Modern-day time tracking systems, such as OnTheClock, allow employers to oversee all employee activities using biometric capabilities, geolocation tracking, job costing and reporting, payroll integration, and much more. Administrators can allocate duties appropriately based on time usage and effectiveness, monitor progress as it unfolds, optimize time based on priority and efficiency, identify individual and team time wasters, foster a sense of accountability, and much more.
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Conclusion: Maximizing Your Work Hours
Optimizing your professional output involves not just answering the question of how many hours you dedicate to your profession but understanding how to make those hours count. Your journey begins with a clear understanding of the amount of time you spend at work and blending that with personal time off the clock.
From calculating total working hours to understanding averages and industry norms, one thing remains clear – your time is a valuable asset.
Time tracking software — and the tools and strategies it affords a business — plays a crucial role in helping you master your company’s schedule abd transforming efficiency from a buzzword to a mindset.
So, as you embark on the quest to optimize your workweek, remember that each hour is an opportunity to contribute meaningfully, accomplish goals, and foster a fulfilling life. Equip yourself with the right tools, embrace a mindset of efficiency, and attack work hours with confidence and precision. Your journey to mastering your time is a continuous evolution, and with each passing hour, you have the power to shape a more fulfilling and purpose-driven life.
Ready to embark on a journey of time mastery? Explore the benefits of OnTheClock’s all-in-one time tracking software and discover the tools that exist to enhance your company’s operational efficiency, productivity, and profitability. More than 15,000 individuals are using this tool today. What are you waiting for? Try OnTheClock today, for free, for 30 days.
Frequently asked questions
This can be calculated by multiplying the days in a year (365) by the hours in a day (24)
365 x 24 = 8,760
The maximum number of annual work days for most traditional full-time employees can be calculated by multiplying the number of weeks in a year (52) by the number of workdays in a week (5)
52 x 5 = 260
When subtracting the 11 federal holidays from the maximum 260 work days, that leaves 249 days.
However, the answer to this question will vary for each person, depending on the number of holiday and PTO days the employee is afforded.
Per the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a full-time employee is an individual who works, on average, at least 30 hours of service per week per calendar month or 130 hours of service per month per calendar year.
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