Created in partnership with the Helpdesk on Business & Human Rights

Working Time

Nearly 480 million people work at least 55 hours a week leading to increased risks of workplace accidents, stroke and ischemic heart disease, regardless of the number of normal hours of sleep.

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Further Guidance

Examples of further guidance on working time include:

  • United Nations Global Compact and UNICEF, Family-Friendly Workplaces: Policies and Practices to Advance Decent Work in Global Supply Chains: A report including suggestions on flexible working time and arrangements to allow for a healthy family life for workers.
  • ILO, Overtime Work: A Review of the Literature and Initial Empirical Analysis: A report on overtime and an overview of legal frameworks in six countries: Denmark, Germany, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the UK.
  • ILO, Telework in the 21st Century: An Evolutionary Perspective: A review of different national approaches and experiences to teleworking, or remote working.
  • ILO, Practical Guide on Teleworking during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond: The purpose of this guide is to provide practical and actionable recommendations for effective teleworking. The guide also includes several case examples regarding how employers and policymakers have been handling teleworking during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • ILO, Working Anytime, Anywhere: The Effects on the World of Work: A report on drivers, incidence/intensity and effects of telework on working time, individual and organizational performance, work-life balance and occupational health and wellbeing.
  • ILO, Work Sharing during the Great Recession: New Developments and Beyond: A report outlining the concept and history of work sharing, how it can be used as a strategy for preserving jobs and its potential for increasing employment.
  • ILO, Working Time and the Future of Work: A report on trends and developments in working time arrangements and their implications for the future of work.
  • ILO, Working Time, Health and Safety: A Research Synthesis Paper: This report provides a synthesis of previous research examining the link between different aspects of working time and outcomes in terms of workers’ health, well-being and workplace safety.
  • ILO, Decent Working Time: Balancing Workers’ Needs with Business Requirements: This booklet summarizes five dimensions of decent working time, and how these principles can be put into action.
  • ILO and IFC, Better Work Discussion Paper Series, No. 2: Excessive Overtime, Workers and Productivity: Evidence and Implications for Better Work: This paper presents a literature review on the issue of working time regulations and the relationship between excessive overtime and labour productivity, looking at the implications of long working hours on factory performance.
  • Our World in Data, Working Hours: This report explores data on working hours across countries, with interactive charts showing working hours throughout history.
  • SME Compass, Standards Compass: This online tool offers guidance on what to pay attention to when selecting sustainability standards or when participating in multi-stakeholder initiatives. It allows comparing standards and initiatives with respect to their contribution to human rights due diligence and their potential limitations.
  • SME Compass, Due Diligence Compass: This online tool offers guidance on the overall human rights due diligence process by taking businesses through five key due diligence phases.
  • SME Compass, Downloads: Practical guides and checklists are available for download on the SME compass website to embed due diligence processes, improve supply chain management and make mechanisms more effective.
  • ILO Helpdesk for Business, Country Information Hub: This resource can be used to inform human rights due diligence, providing specific country information on different labour rights.