The working hours has been an important indicator among labour market indicators. we can summarize the situation as follows.
(1) 22 per cent of the global workforce, or 614.2 million workers, are estimated to be working in excess of 48 hours a week. (2)The trend in changes in weekly working hours during 1995-2004, despite the global convergence toward a statutory 40-hour week, is rather mixed. Enforcement of the statutory maximum work hours is estimated to be less than 50 percent globally. (3) The gap between industrialized and developing countries in terms of average working hours in the manufacturing sector has not narrowed much. Although a negative correlation exists between hours worked and per capita income, it masks wide differences among individual low-income and high-income countries. (4) In both industrialized and developing countries, working hours vary greatly among different groups of workers in different sectors, gender being a major factor. For male workers, working hours exceed 49 hours in many countries. For female workers, working hours are generally lower due to the part-time nature of their work. Age is not as significant a factor as gender. (5) Average hours of work are notably long in some services sectors such as wholesale and retail trade and hotels and restaurants; they are notably short in others such as government and education. (6) Workers in the informal economy, engaged primarily in self-employment — which accounts for at least three-fifths of informal employment in developing countries — toil very long hours, although self-employed women put in short hours in order to balance their family and work responsibilities.
But on the positive side, shorter working time can improve workers’ health, enrich family lives, reduce occupational accidents, enhance productivity and promote gender equality at work. On the negative side, fewer working hours, especially in developing countries, can result in rising underemployment and widening poverty if workers fail to earn enough to support themselves and their families. Therefore, reduction in working time by itself is not an adequate indicator of increasing economic and social wellbeing. What also matter are real wages that are determined by hourly productivity and wage policies.