High incidence of long working hours

The Household Labour Force Survey for 2005 reveals that, in the case of 41% of employees, the actual length of the working week was not fixed. Approximately 59.8% of employees work more than 45 hours a week. The variable and extra working hours differ depending on sector of the economy, occupation, area of residence and sex.

Legal length of working time

According to the Labour Code, the legal length of the working week in Romania is set at 40 hours, calculated as an average over a period of three months. Derogations from this provision are permitted in 11 sectors of the economy, provided that the average working week totals 40 hours over a 12-month period (RO0701039I).

In practice, the data of the Household Labour Force Survey (Ancheta privind forţa de muncă în gospodării, AMIGO), carried out by the Institute of National Statistics (Institutul Naţional de Statistică, INS), show that the annual average working week length varies; the variable and extra working hours differ according to sector, occupation, area of residence and sex.

Differences in working hours

In 2005, only 62% of employees observed the legal 40-hour working week. For 3.1 million people, representing 38% of all employees, the length of the working week was not standardised. Out of this group, 1.87 million people worked more than 45 hours a week; this corresponds to 22.7% of total employment.

Gender and location

The survey recorded that 23.8% of all employees in rural areas worked over 45 hours a week compared with 22% of workers in urban areas. It also revealed a higher incidence of long working weeks among men (26.7%) compared with women (17.9%) (Table1).

Table 1: Employment trends, by length of working week in 2005 (%)
According to AMIGO, in 2005, only 62% of all employees observed the 40-hour working week. The survey found that 23.8% of all employees in rural areas and 26.7% of employed men worked over 45 hours a week.
  Working week length
Less than 35 hours 40 hours Over 45 hours
Total employment 12.0 62.0 22.7
Men 9.2 60.9 26.7
Women 15.4 63.3 17.9
Workers in urban areas 4.6 72.1 22.0
Workers in rural areas 22.2 47.9 23.8

Source: INS, 2006

Sector of economy

Looking at the distribution of employees working more than 45 hours a week in the various sectors of the economy, the survey shows that the incidence of longer working weeks prevails in agriculture, hunting and forestry (28.4%), manufacturing (19.4%), wholesale and retail trade (18.3%) and construction (9%) (Table 2).

Table 2: Employees working over 45 hours a week, 2005
According to AMIGO, in 2005, the sectors with the highest proportion of all employees working over 45 hours a week included: agriculture, hunting and forestry (28.4%), manufacturing (19.4%), as well as wholesale and retail trade (18.3%).
  Number of people Distribution by sector Percentage of sector employment
Total 1,868,000 100.0% 22.7%
Agriculture, hunting and forestry 531,700 28.4% 24.8%
Mining and quarrying 13,100 0.7% 11.0%
Manufacturing 363,100 19.4% 18.7%
Electricity, gas, steam and water supply 22,400 1.2% 11.8%
Construction 168,900 9.0% 35.0%
Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and personal and household goods 342,100 18.3% 36.5%
Hotels and restaurants 57,500 3.1% 38.7%
Transport, storage and communications 127,100 6.8% 28.7%
Financial intermediation 13,900 0.7% 16.7%
Real estate, renting and business activities 46,900 2.5% 20.9%
Public administration and defence; compulsory social security services 59,600 3.2% 11.5%
Education 11,700 0.6% 2.9%
Health and social work 59,000 3.2% 16.8%
Other community, social and personal service activities 51,000 2.7% 22.9%

Source: INS, 2006

Differences by occupation

The distribution of people working more than 45 hours a week differs according to occupation, with long hours most prevalent among agricultural and fishery workers (25%), craft and related trades workers (16.8%) and people working in commercial businesses (15.4%) (Table 3).

Table 3: Employees working over 45 hours a week, by occupation
According to AMIGO, in 2005, the occupations with the highest proportion of all employees working more than 45 hours a week included: skilled agricultural and fishery workers (25%); craft and related trades workers as well as plant and machine operators and assemblers (16.8%); service workers, and shop and market sales workers (15.4%).
  Number of people Distribution by occupation
Total 1,868,000 100.0%
Legislators, senior officials and company managers 123,200 6.6%
Professionals 88,100 4.7%
Technicians and associate professionals 117,000 6.3%
Clerks 52,300 2.8%
Service workers and shop and market sales workers 288,600 15.4%
Skilled agricultural and fishery workers 466,400 25.0%
Craft and related trades workers; plant and machine operators and assemblers 314,000 16.8%
Others, of which: 418,400 22.4%
Unskilled workers 157,100 8.4%

Source: INS, 2006

Commentary

Two labour markets coexist in Romania: one that is typical of urban areas while the other is more typical of rural areas. At national level, full-time employees account for 71.4% of total employment, which represents 92.6% of workers in urban areas and only 42.1% of workers in rural areas. A quarter of the people working more than 45 hours a week currently work in agriculture. Many of these workers are self-employed or fall under the category of unpaid family workers (RO0702099I).

Luminiţa Chivu, Institute of National Economy, Romanian Academy

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