The issue of working time is a central EU policy concern and continues to be controversial in the light of revisions to the working time directive. In recent times, work intensity ? fuelled by globalisation and the need to fulfil Europe?s objectives of being more competitive and to create economic growth ? has also attracted much attention. Understanding the impact of long and intense working hours is crucial in the context of the ongoing debate on working time and quality of work. This report outlines the current situation regarding work intensity, indicating a clear link between work intensity and poor working conditions, both physical and psychological. The analysis is based on findings from the fourth European Working Conditions Survey carried out in 31 countries, including the 27 EU Member States. The analysis reveals sharp variations between different Member States in relation to working hours and the associated gender gap, and points to the huge costs both for workers and companies arising from high work intensity.
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