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Are Canadians slackers when it comes to working long hours? Add to ...

You think you work hard at your job? Sure, but how do you compare to the average South Korean? New statistics released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) paint an interesting country-by-country picture.

Topping the list is South Korea with an average of 2193 hours at their jobs. Canadians check in around the middle of the pack of 34 countries, with 1702 hours worked. (Key countries, such as India, China and Brazil are not OECD members.)

“Asian countries tend to work the longest [hours] they also have the highest proportion of workers that are working excessively long hours of more than 48 hours a week,” Jon Messenger, an expert on working hours told BBC writer Wesley Stephenson.

“Korea sticks out because it’s a developed country that’s working long hours,” he said. “Normally it’s developing countries like Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka - countries like this that are working long hours.”

And the ranking provides a handy primer to the habits of countries that dominate the news.

As Mr. Stephenson points out, Greek workers have had a bad rep recently but “their average of 2,017 hours a year puts them third in the international ranking.” And well ahead of us Canadians.

But experts suggest that long working hours are historically linked to lower productivity and lower wages. Lower worked hours can mean that part-time work is very profitable – and that a country’s paid holiday structure is generous. At the bottom of the OECD list: Germany, with an average of 1408 hours worked, and the Netherlands, at 1377.

“Over the last century, you’ve seen a reduction from very long working hours – nearly 3,000 a year at the beginning of the 1900s – to the turn of the 21st Century when most developing countries were under 1,800 hours,” says Mr. Messenger. “And indeed some of the most productive countries were even lower than that.”

What about me, you ask? Well, the BBC is on it – they’ve created a calculator to compare yourself to your fellow Canadians. Just enter the number of hours you work a week and how many vacation days and voilà, you can find out.

It’s especially timely, given the current national discussion around changes to the federal EI program.

So, how do you rank? Are you a slacker or a workhorse?

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