“Question of the month”

20 March 2008

In April CE asked its survey respondents How many hours they worked per week. The biggest group – 42% said they put in between 40 and 49 hours per week. However, 32% said they worked between 50 and 59 hours per week and 20% said they did 60 hours or more per week.

To put this another way, more than half the construction professionals we surveyed said they worked more than the 48-hour week maximum that is stipulated by law in the European Working Time Directive. The long hours worked by people in the industry was further emphasised by the fact that only 6% of respondents said they worked less than 39 hours per week.

Although many in the industry may not find these results surprising, they should be a cause for concern. The Working Time Directive was introduced to improve general health & safety across Europe. While it would be dangerous to draw direct conclusions, surely it cannot be a coincidence that the construction industry has both a poor safety record and excessive working hours?

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