Home > Basics > How Many Work Hours Are in a Year?

How Many Work Hours Are in a Year?

keyboard, calendar, and clock on desk

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. We’ll cover:

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.

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?

>>MORE: Learn what it’s like to work in law with Forage’s law virtual experience programs.

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.

Stand out from the crowd

Craft a winning resume with Forage's Resume Writing Class.

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. 

Prepare to join the workforce with interview, resume, and career readiness tips from Forage’s personal development virtual experience programs.

Image credit: Canva