How Many Work Hours In A Year?

By Caitlin Mazur
Jul. 26, 2021
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Research Summary. Americans work longer hours than most people in the Western world, but there is a discrepancy between work hours in the year and the average amount that people actually work.

  • How many work hours in a year? For a typical employee who works a 40-hour workweek, 52 weeks a year, there are 2,080 work hours in a year

  • However, the OPM calculates hourly pay rates by assuming 2,087 work hours in a year

  • The average American full-time employee works 1,801 hours per year

  • For an employee on a 35-hour workweek, there are 1,820 work hours in the year

  • Assuming 8 paid holidays and 10 days of PTO (the average in the US), a typical corporate employee will actually work 1,943 hours in a year

  • Americans work 258 hours more than Europeans each year

  • In each 28-year cycle (the length of time it takes for the calender to repeat), there are 4 years with 2,096 hour hours, 17 years with 2088 work hours, and 7 years with 2,080 work hours, averaging out to 2,087 work hours in a year

Total Working Hours in 2021:

Month Work Days Work Hours
January 21 168
February 20 160
March 23 184
April 22 176
May 21 168
June 22 176
July 22 176
August 22 176
September 22 176
October 21 168
November 22 176
December 23 184
Total 261 2,088

In 2021, there are 261 workdays or 2,088 work hours. Note that this does not take into account any holidays.

Whether you are just entering the workforce or have been a full time or part-time employee for some time, understanding how many hours you work in a given year is an important statistic to understand.

Knowing how many hours you work annually can help you identify whether your work-life balance is healthy and understand how much money you’re making for each hour you put in at the office.

Understanding these different things may be deciding factors in a career shift, job change, or lifestyle adjustment. This also may impact salary requirements from either the employee or employer standpoint.

Regardless, it’s essential to track and calculate the amount of time you are dedicating to your work, even if compensation or new changes aren’t tied to it.

But how do you calculate the number of hours you work in any given year? Below we discuss how to calculate this number and the extreme importance of understanding this number for your personal wellbeing.

How Many Work Hours In a Week?

The average American works 34.4 hours per week. Those between the ages of 25 and 54 work an average of 40.5 hours per week. If you are an hourly, non-exempt employee, you must be paid time and a half for every hour of overtime you work. Any time worked in a calendar week over 40 hours is considered overtime.

The Importance of Knowing the Number of Your Work Hours in a Year

As we mentioned above, knowing the number of work hours you work per year directly impacts your well-being and job satisfaction. Knowing this number can help you in several different ways.

Financially, understanding the number of hours you work will help you calculate your annual income. If you are an hourly employee, understanding the number of hours you’ll be able to work in any given year will make it possible to calculate your take-home finances for the year.

This is incredibly significant for any individual in order to plan for budgeting for large items such as a home or a car.

However, this doesn’t just apply to hourly employees. Typically, salaried employees work more than their typical 40-hour weeks.

Understanding how your salary is divided among the amount of yours you actually put into your job every year will give you a better idea of the actual amount you’re making per hour. This can be used to your advantage when asking for a promotion or increase in salary.

Understanding the number of hours you’re working doesn’t just apply to finances, however. Knowing the number of hours you put in during a year helps you plan for activities and events outside of work. By understanding how many hours you need to dedicate to work, you can better plan your free time.

One of the most significant understandings from knowing how many hours you work in a year helps evaluate your work-life balance.

We know that working too many hours means less productivity and efficiency for any employee, so understanding if your balance is off can be important in identifying too heavy of a workload or too light of a workload.

This number can also give you insight into your work habits and tendencies and help you adjust them so that you have more time for a personal life.

How to Calculate the Number of Work Hours in a Year

Calculating this number is relatively simple when you work the same number of hours each week. However, you may need to take vacation days, personal days, and holidays into account.

And if the number of hours you work is inconsistent, you may have to keep a consistent log to calculate the exact number of hours you work annually.

  • Calculating Full-Time Hours. A full workweek is typically 40 hours per week. Calculating the number of hours you work as a full-time, 40 hours per week employee is straightforward and simple, but not in the way you may think.

    At first glance, it might seem simple enough. Calculate the number of hours worked in a month by multiplying 40 hours times 4 weeks, resulting in 160 hours per month.

    You may be tempted to take the 160 hours per month and multiply it by the number of months worked in a year; in most cases, this would be 12.

    But by multiplying these numbers together, we end up with a grand total of 1,920 hours per year, which is not accurate. There are not always four weeks in a month.

    To get closer to the actual number, you’ll want to multiply the typical 40 hours per week by 52 weeks in a year. This results in a higher number at 2,080 hours per year, a far more accurate representation of the number of hours for a typical full-time employee.

    It’s important to note that the U.S. Federal Government uses 2,087 as the average number for full-time work, taking leap years into account.

  • Adding or Subtracting Time. To get an even more accurate number for the number of hours you’ve put in during a year, you may choose to add overtime hours or subtract any vacation, personal time, or holidays you may not have worked.

    For employees receiving a salary, these days are typically paid and may not need to be subtracted from your total working days.

    If these days are not paid, employees can calculate their correct number of working hours by subtracting eight hours for each day they did not work.

    Likewise, for overtime hours or hours that exceed the typical 40 hour week, you’ll want to add those to your total as well. Usually, overtime is calculated by the hour, so if you’ve been tracking your hours regularly, this should be easy enough to add on.

How to Calculate Hourly Pay Per Year

Salaried employees might be interested in understanding what their hourly rate truly is, especially if they tend to go over the typical 40 hour per week schedule. Since salaried employees receive the same amount in their paycheck every pay period, it’s difficult to discern how much you make per hour at a quick glance.

To determine the average of your hourly pay, you can divide your salary by the 52 weeks stated above and divide that number by the average number of hours you work per week. This will give you the hourly pay you truly receive based on the number of hours worked and your annual salary.

Sometimes this number may be surprising, especially if you are commonly going over the 40-hour workweek. Depending on whether it’s good or bad, you can decide to make some changes to your work style or lifestyle.

Perhaps you are making less than you thought per hour based on the hours you work. Use this as an opportunity to ask for a pay raise and lay out the numbers for your manager.

Similarly, if you are working too many hours, you may have an issue with workload or unrealistic expectations. This should also be surfaced to your manager. Requesting a better work-life balance is a common and achievable request and should be taken seriously by your manager.

How Many Hours Should I Be Working?

Unfortunately, there is no correct answer to this question as it varies significantly by the person, the profession, the industry, the company, and the job title. It will also vary by country, as those in countries outside of the U.S. typically have different work habits than Americans.

Compared to the average hours worked in 1979, workers see significantly fewer work hours per year today.

For example, in 1979, the average hours worked in the USA was 1,829, while in 2015, the average was 1,790.

The United States has one of the highest amount of hours worked per year in the world. For example, Europeans work up to 19% fewer hours than their American counterparts. That adds up to 258 hours extra per year.

Average working hours by industry makes a big difference as well. By industry, the oil and gas market saw the highest number of working hours per week at 42.4 on average. Paper manufacturing is right on its heels, with an average of 41.9 working hours per week.

The lowest number of hours calculated is in the leisure and hospitality business, coming in just under 29 hours per week.

Most countries outside of the United States have laws that set the maximum length of the workweek. In Europe, most countries give their employees 20 days of paid vacation per year, along with Australia and New Zealand. Canada and Japan mandate 10 paid days off.

Unfortunately, if you live in the United States, there is no regulation to mandate time off. This is why it’s so important to have these discussions with your potential employer before you accept a job offer.

Deciding how many hours you should be working is up to you, your obligations, your stamina, and your goals for your future career. Only you can dictate how much you want to work or how little.

Typically, working hours will have an impact on your financial take-home. But depending on your situation or goals for the future, fewer hours and less money might be the right path for you, just as working more hours and taking home more money might be the right path for someone else.

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Caitlin Mazur

Caitlin Mazur is a freelance writer at Zippia. Caitlin is passionate about helping Zippia’s readers land the jobs of their dreams by offering content that discusses job-seeking advice based on experience and extensive research. Caitlin holds a degree in English from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

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