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Image © Photocreo Bednarek/Adobe Stock Photos
Image © Photocreo Bednarek/Adobe Stock Photos

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Poland records longest annual working hours in the EU in 2020

Employees in Poland are working 1,848 hours per year, the highest annual working hours figure (alongside Hungary) across the EU. The shortest hours are found in Germany (1,574 hours), France (1,610 hours) and Denmark (1,635 hours). These figures are part of Eurofound’s Working time in 2019–2020 report, which documents the most relevant changes in working time regulation after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, including short-time working schemes, and approaches to telework for those able to work from home.

While collective bargaining does not play a substantial role in determining working time standards in Poland, it is a common practice in those countries reporting lower annual working hours. The report shows that in 2020, workers in Poland working the average collectively agreed normal working time would have worked approximately 274 hours more than their counterparts in Germany. This is equivalent to nearly 7 weeks of work in Poland.

Describing the employment developments by sector and occupation through the first year of the COVID-19 crisis, a joint Eurofound and European Commission report (What just happened? COVID-19 lockdowns and change in the labour market) highlights Poland’s employment increase of 0.5% in quarter 4 of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. While the EU27 noted a decrease of 1.5% on average, Poland, together with Luxembourg and Slovenia, were the only countries where employment grew.

However, it should be noted that Poland lost 0.4 million temporary contracts or more in the last three quarters of 2020 and is one of five countries (with France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain), whose decline in temporary employment between 2019 and 2020 accounted for 60% of total losses in temporary employment in the EU in 2020.

Temporary workers were disproportionately affected by the crisis, accounting for over three-quarters of net job losses in the EU27 during 2020. The severity is observed especially in those Member States where temporary workers made up a relatively high proportion of total employment pre COVID-19, such as Poland, France and Spain.

The central European country also reports particularly low trust in institutions. In spring 2021, Eurofound’s large-scale Living, working and COVID-19 online surveyfound that respondents in Poland have the lowest trust in their national government across the EU (2.1 compared to 3.9 for EU27). In terms of trust in the EU, Poland’s rating of 5.2 is higher than the EU27’s average of 4.6. However, it is worth noting that trust in the EU has significantly dropped in various Member States since summer 2020. Poland documents one of the largest decreases with -1 point.

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Anna Gallinat

Anna Gallinat

Communication Project Officer

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Eurofound, a tripartite European Union Agency, provides knowledge to assist in the development of social, employment and work-related policies

Eurofound (European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions) is a tripartite EU body, whose mission is to provide knowledge to assist in the development of better social, employment and work-related policies.

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