Eight-hour workday remains most prevalent in New Zealand

Female employees are more likely than their male counterparts to work less than 40 hours in a week, according to Stats NZ.
By: | October 20, 2023

Nearly half of employed individuals in New Zealand work an eight-hour day, according to data from the Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS) released by Stats NZ, New Zealand’s official data agency. The data showed that the 40-hour workweek remains the most common work arrangement, with 679,400 people reporting working this schedule in the June 2023 quarter.

The 40-hour workweek has remained a common work arrangement since the HLFS began collecting actual and usual hours worked in 1986.

It also continues to be impacted by of gender composition in employment, as Malak Shafik, Labour Market Manager, Stats NZ, explained, “Usual weekly hours are very much shaped by the proportion of men and women and changes in how men and women are employed over time.”

The data revealed the prevalence of people working fewer than 40 hours per week witnessed an increase until the early 2000s. This trend was influenced, in part, by the growing labour force participation among women, who were more likely than men to work less than 40 hours per week.

“The proportion of both men and women working exactly 40 hours in a usual week has been increasing in recent decades,” she explained. “Since the June 2020 quarter, the proportion of men working more than 40 hours per week fell from 48% to 35%, and the proportion of women working less than 40 hours fell from 56% to 52%.”

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The data also indicated that employees, on average, worked approximately 37 hours per week at the main job during the June 2023 quarter. This was fewer than employers, who reported working an average of 44 hours per week. Self-employed individuals without employees and unpaid family employees averaged 34 and 19 hours per week, respectively.