Canada near top of OECD list for hardest-working nations

Jordan Chittley
Daily Brew

If you believe you work harder than many of your international counterparts, you would be mostly right, unless your counterparts live in Mexico.

Canadians work the fourth-longest hours out of the 29 countries surveyed, according to a study released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

OECD's "Society at a Glance" shows when unpaid and paid work is combined, Mexicans top the list by devoting 10 hours a day to work. Belgians work the least, at only seven hours a day. Canadians work about eight hours and 20 minutes per day, which is about 20 minutes above the OECD average.

When dividing paid and unpaid work, the study shows Canadians work the fifth-most paid hours per day at just over five. People in Japan work the most paid hours per day at about six.

Most unpaid includes household chores such as cooking, cleaning, caretaking and shopping. Mexicans do the most unpaid work as well at more than three hours per day. Koreans do the least, working only one hour and 19 minutes unpaid.

Cooking is the unpaid work that takes up the highest percentage of most people's time. Turks spend the most time cooking at 74 minutes, while Americans spend the least time at 30 minutes. Americans also spend the third-lowest amount of time eating, but strangely enough have the highest obesity rate in the OECD.

If the total number of hours worked seems low compared to the average eight hours a day most Canadians spend at their offices, that is because it includes retirees and people on days off including weekends.

The average is lowered in countries with more generous holiday allowances and retirement ages.

The study is based on surveys conducted in 26 OECD member countries plus China, India and South Africa involving people between 15 and 64. Participants were required to say what they were doing every five minutes during the day.

(AFP photo)