Thursday, 21 January 2010

Longest working hours - 45.9 hours a week

According to a report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), SINGAPORE's workers continue to lead the pack when it comes to the number of hours they put in at work.

The report puts them at the top of 13 economies in the group's Global Wages Report for 2008-09, surpassing even the notoriously hardworking Japanese and Taiwanese.

The ILO report did not specify the exact numbers. Based on a check with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Straits Times put the working hours here in Singapore at 45.9 hours a week for 2008 and the first quarter of last year. In 2007, the figure was 46.3 hours.

Under the Employment Act, the limit on working hours is 44 hours a week or eight hours a day. Beyond this, workers are entitled to 1.5 times their hourly rate of pay. The working hours do not include a tea break or lunchtime. As this applies to employees drawing less than $2,000 a month, it means at least 93% of the working population is working such or even much longer working hours.

This long working hours is not only affecting work-life-balance but is also contributing to declinding annual birth rate. Despite this setback, the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) is still urging workers to work "Cheaper, Better, Faster" as a total approach concept - an overarching macro-strategy that embraces both companies and workers in a paradigm shift towards a more competitive economy. Perhaps the NTUC should change its slogan to "Cheaper, Better, Faster and Shorter Hours" to encourage workers to work effectively for better work-life-balance.

However, despite such long hours worked, the Minister Mentor had ironically commented that Singaporeans have become "less hard-driving and hard-striving." during an interview with the National Geographic last year.

Straits Times Online Jan 11, 2010
Longest working hours
They top international poll of 13 economies; MOM's figure is 45.9 hours a week for 2008
By Dickson Li

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