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How many work days in a year? (2024) Updated

So, how many work days are there in a year?

There are in total 260 working days in a common year. And 2024 (a leap year)will be an exception, it will have 261 working days.

An impressive number, isn’t it? If, like me, you have ever wondered how many days in a year you’re going to spend at work, now you know – approximately 71.5% of the year.

In fact, technological advances have completely changed not only our everyday routines, but also our work lives. With the ability to stay connected around-the-clock and work from any location, modern employees are experiencing the freedom to choose when, where and how they want to work. Today’s technologies have presented us with an opportunity to have more flexible working schedules.

Yet, there is always another side of the coin. Due to these same flexible and personalized working hours, a vast number of employees find it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Most of them end up either multitasking and overworking, or procrastinating and being unable to stay focused on their tasks. In addition, 24/7 work time availability makes it difficult for some employees to plan and spend quality leisure time and vacations. All of this can result in decreased productivity and eventually job burnout, which was even classified as an “occupational phenomenon” in 2019 by the World Health Organization (WHO).

In this article, we are going to delve into the history of work hours and discuss why it is important to know how many working weeks, days and hours there are in a year.

History of the work week

The 40-hour work week or 8-hour work day wasn’t there from the very beginning. The modern concept of the work week is a relatively new invention that didn’t become a labor standard by a simple twist of fate. For us to better understand the nature of the modern working week, we must go back to its roots.

Most historians agree that the concept of a seven-day week dates back about 4,000 years ago to Babylonian times. The Babylonians believed that the solar system was composed of seven planets. This number became sacred to them, and they planned their days around it. With the course of time, the Babylonian concept of the “planetary week” spread to Egypt, Greece, Rome, and finally it became the generally accepted norm worldwide.

Until the 19th century, the typical work week was 10 – 12 hours, 6-7 days a week, depending on the occupation, season and length of the day. In most cases, people worked longer than 80 hours per week.

In 1712, the invention of the practical steam engine signaled the beginning of what became known as the Industrial Revolution, and this drastically changed the labor market. The eventual excess of workers in the manufacturing sector allowed the factory owners to dictate the rules. As a result, the average work hours in manufacturing in the U.S. reached 67.1 hours per week by 1840.

These work hours and other generally inhumane working conditions led to the creation of labor unions and the emergence of the first movements towards shorter work weeks. Several states even passed laws that called for 10-hour work days, but these laws were not observed.

The labor union movements continued to gain in popularity, and demonstrations for reductions of work hours were seen here and there throughout the country. The pressure of this rising tide of workplace populism resulted in the creation of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which limited working hours to 44 hours per week and 8.8 hours per day, respectively. In addition, this act began to regulate minimum wage rates, overtime pay and child labor standards. In 1940, Congress amended that act and established a 40-hour work week, as we know it today.

So, what is the contemporary work week like?

The answer to this question differs, depending on what country you live in, how many hours you work per day, and if you take weekends off. The average number of workdays per year also varies from country to country. Most countries will have an average of between 220 and 260 workdays per year.

The present-day labor market is a far more complex and diverse phenomenon than it was one hundred years ago. There are significant numbers of contract workers and temporary employees, whose working hours are not regulated. At the same time, a lot of positions may require employees to stay in touch or on call, even when the normal work day is over.

Let’s take a closer look at the work day calendar of the average employee who works a 40-hour week.

So, how many work days does an average person spend on the job?

As a rule, a common year consists of 52 weeks and 260 work days. A leap year may contain an extra work day, so there will be 261 work days. While counting working days, it’s also important to remember that there are a number of federal holidays that can be paid days off. In general, most federal workers and public sector employees will receive a paid day off or a paid leave on the federal holidays. However, employees in the private sector may not enjoy the same benefit.

In the USA, there are 11 federal holidays, including:

  • New Year’s Day – January 1st;
  • Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. – Third Monday in January, (January 15th 2024);
  • Washington’s Birthday – Third Monday in February, (February 19th, 2024);
  • Memorial Day – Last Monday in May, (May 27th, 2024);
  • Juneteenth Independence Day – June 19th, 2024;
  • Independence Day – July 4th;
  • Labor Day – First Monday in September, (September 2nd, 2024);
  • Columbus Day – Second Monday in October, (October 14th, 2024);
  • Veterans Day – November 11th, 2024;
  • Thanksgiving Day – Fourth Thursday in November, (November 28th, 2024);
  • Christmas Day – December 25th, 2024.

In the table below, you can see the detailed breakdown of the work days, hours, weekends and holidays per month in the year 2024.

Working Time Calendar 2024

MonthNumber of Work DaysNumber of Work HoursNumber of WeekendsNumber of Federal Holidays
January 1 – 3121168102
February 1 – 282016091
March 1 – 3121168100
April 1 – 302217680
May 1 – 312217691
June 1 – 3019152111
July 1 – 312217691
August 1 – 312217690
September 1 – 3020160101
October 1 – 312217691
November 1 – 3019152112
December 1 – 3121168101

Why is it important to know how many working days there are in a year?

Here are several reasons why it is essential for you to know how much time you are spending at work.

  • It helps calculate your annual income
    Being aware of your total annual income plays a crucial role in long-term financial planning. If you are an hourly employee who is compensated at a set hourly rate, knowing how many work days there are in a year is necessary if you have to calculate your annual income. A correct understanding of how much money you earn will be helpful for creating an accurate budget, a realistic savings plan, or performing financial assessments of your ability to apply for mortgages and take out loans.
  • It aids in calculating an equivalent hourly rate from your salary
    Salaries are fixed monthly payments for a job that is assumed to require a reasonable number of working hours, as agreed to between an employer and an employee. If the employee’s job consistently requires that they often must work more than the agreed-upon hours or if the employee wants to find a side job to make extra money, it is useful to calculate the actual amount of money they are currently earning per hour.
  • It allows you to better plan vacation and leisure time
    Understanding how many workdays and weekends you will have in the upcoming year helps you to better plan future trips, hobbies, family activities, and choose the best vacation dates. Pre-planned vacation and leisure time can save you a lot of money, reduce the amount of stress and ensure high-quality recreation.
  • It provides the ability to evaluate your work-life balance
    Recent studies show that stress because of overworking leads to significant health issues, including depression, diabetes, heart diseases, impaired sleep, etc. By calculating how much time you are working, you can better assess how healthy your work-life balance is. It may help you recognize some detrimental work-related habits, reduce extra work hours during weekends, or plan a vacation before reaching job burnout.

In 1928, John Maynard Keynes, the famous English economist, predicted that people would work 15 hours per week within the next 100 years, thanks to technological advancements. Well, we still have six more years to achieve that, don’t we?

All joking aside, the research does show that annual work hours are decreasing. While average German workers spent 1,775 hours at work in 1979, they worked 1,354 hours in 2017, which is a 24% reduction. So as this pattern continues, the predictions are quite clear – the farther we look into the future, the less time we will work.

Yet, while a 40-hour week is still today’s reality, we hope that this article will help you to better plan your working and leisure time, and stay productive throughout the next year.