How many work hours are in a year? It’s important to know — not just for your paycheck but also for your work-life balance, work schedule, and choosing when you take time off. In this guide, we’ll show you how many hours are in a work year, how to calculate this metric, and how to adjust the metric based on your time off.
How Many Work Hours in a Year?
The average full-time U.S. employee works five days a week for eight hours a day, totaling 40 hours a week. There are 52 weeks in a calendar year.
40 working hours/week x 52 weeks/year = 2,080 working hours/year
On average, there are 2,080 working hours a year. Only some years have the same number of working days because of the way weekends fall. As a result, there can be 260 to 262 working days within a year, which means there can be up to 2,096 working hours in a given year.
In 2023, there are 260 working days, totaling 2,080 working hours. What about other increments, like months, quarters, or even lifetimes? For a 40-hour workweek, here’s the breakdown:
Average work hours in a month: While one month can have between 19 and 22 workdays depending on the calendar and length, one month of work is about four weeks.
40 hours/week x average 4 workweeks/month = 160 work hours/month
Average work hours in a quarter: A quarter is typically three months, with an average of about four weeks per month.
40 hours/week x average 12 workweeks/quarter = 480 work hours/quarter
Average work hours in a lifetime: According to Gallup, the average retirement age is 61, but people who are currently working and not retired plan to retire around 65. If you start working full-time in your early 20s, you’ll work for about 40 years.
40 hours/week x 52 weeks/year x 40 years = 83,200 work hours.
Now that’s a lot of time.
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Work Hours vs. Non-Work Hours
Now that we know how many working hours are in a month, quarter, year, and lifetime, how does this stack against the total non-working hours in a year?
24 hours/day x 7 days/week x 52 weeks/year = 8,736 hours/year
With 8,736 hours in a year, traditional working hours (40 hours/week) make up nearly 24% of this time. This means the average employee spends about one out of every four hours of the year working.
Non-Traditional Work Schedules
How many work hours are in a year if you don’t work a traditional 40-hour workweek? For example, what if you only work part-time or in a field with traditionally longer hours, like finance or law?
Here’s the breakdown of some other work schedules and their respective working hours:
- Full-time, 50 hours/week: 2,600 working hours/year
- Full-time, 60 hours/week: 3,120 working hours/year
- Part-time, 20 hours/week: 1,040 working hours/year
If you work a 50-hour workweek, you spend 30% of your hours in a year working; if you work a 60-hour workweek, you spend nearly 36% of your yearly hours working. Part-time workers who work 20 hours a week spend about 12% of their hours in a year working.
>>MORE: How many hours do you work in an intense industry like investment banking? Learn about investment banking hours.
Calculating Your Work Hours in a Year
Even if you work one of the schedules we’ve mentioned above, it’s unlikely that you actually work all those hours in a year. Why? There are a few reasons:
- Vacation days: whether paid or unpaid, days you took off from work to take a vacation
- Sick days: days you took off when you weren’t feeling well
- Holidays: company days off to observe public holidays
>>MORE: What Are Fringe Benefits?
To calculate your work hours in a given year, you’ll need to take the total work hours in a year and subtract any time you took off for vacation, sick days, or company holidays.
2,080 – [Vacation days + sick days + holidays) x 8] = total hours you worked in a year
Work Hours in a Year: The Bottom Line
It can be dizzying to see how many hours you work in a year and what percentage of your total hours you spend working. However, knowing how to calculate this can help you better control your working hours — and ensure you take the time off you need to rest and recharge.
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