SOZNET – Austrian Research Network on Labor and Employment Research

SOZNET is an Austrian research network of university and non-university social science institutes focusing on labor and employment research. The aim of this cooperation is to strengthen research on work-related issues and to intensify the cooperation between institutes.

Map of Austria showing the location of different SOZNET partners
Austria_all“ by Andreas Griessner, licenced under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Up until a few years ago, Austrian research on working life was centered in the non-university research sector. Recent developments at the universities of Linz, Vienna and Graz opened new possibilities and chances for cooperation. This reassignment is now used to promote an intensified cooperation between the research institutes. Continue reading

Austria – A Leisure Society? On The Complexity of Working Time Statistics

Compared with other countries Austria is considered to have an above-average amount of annual paid leave (25 days) and many public holidays (approx. 13 days). Christoph Neumayer of the Federation of Austrian Industries (Industriellenvereinigung) even called Austria a “leisure society”. Contrary to this, trade unions point to long working hours and the high amount of overtime in Austria which amounted to 270 million hours in 2013. So do we work too much or maybe even too little?

In the debate on working time, statistics play an important role. Particularly when it comes to international comparison various statistics come into play and working time can mean quite different things, depending on the operationalization. For example “agreed working hours” are the collectively agreed working hours, “actual weekly hours” are the hours worked in a reference week including overtime but also absence and “usual weekly hours” refer to the hours worked in a normal working week over a longer period of time including overtime.

What can we learn from these statistics and is Austria indeed some kind of “leisure society”? Let´s have a look at the figures. With collectively “agreed working hours” of 38.8 hours per week Austria is slightly above the European average of 38.1 hours. Even when deducting annual paid leave and holidays, Austrian full-time employees still work above-average hours in the European Union, projected to the year as a whole (AT: 33.3 and EU-28: 32.9). However, overtime is not included here. When referring to “actual working hours” per week we see that Austria ranks in the upper middle field of working hours in the European Union (AT: 40.1 and EU-28: 39.6). Starting from “usual working hours” we get a very different picture. Here, Austria climbs to the top of the European ‘ranking’ with 41.8 hours per week, even when annual paid leave and holidays are taken into account.

Table showing the working hours in European countries Continue reading