Time and Attendance

How Many Work Hours in a Year?

Our guide to calculating your yearly working hours...
Sean QuinnPosted on Monday, November 27th 2023

If you're paid on an hourly basis, it can be helpful to know how many hours you might work across an average year, in order to calculate your earnings. If you're a salaried employee, you might also need to know how many hours you work in a year to calculate your effective hourly rate.

How to calculate your yearly work hours

Calculate how many hours you work in a week

The first step in this process is likely the easiest for most people. Your weekly work hours should be stipulated in your contract, and any unpaid breaks should be noted there too.

If an employee's usual schedule is 9AM-5PM with 1 hour for lunch, 5 days a week, they will work 35 hours each week.

The average number of hours worked in the UK is actually slightly higher than this, at an average of 36.4 hours per week as of June 2023.

Multiply by 52

As there are 52 weeks in a year, you can then multiply your weekly hours by 52, to get the total amount of hours you could work in a year, before any annual leave is deducted.

In our example of someone who works 35 hours a week, this is a total of 1820 hours per year (52 * 35 = 1820).

Deduct your leave allowance from the total

For employees in the UK, there is a statutory leave entitlement of 5.6 weeks (this usually accounts for 28 days, for someone working 5 days a week).

To calculate how many hours you'll spend on paid leave for the year, multiply your annual leave entitlement (in weeks) by your weekly working hours.

In our example, for an employee with the statutory minimum entitlement, this totals 196 hours (5.6 * 35 = 196).

You can then deduct paid leave hours from the total possible work hours in the year, to calculate how many hours you'll actually work.

Total work hours in a year

The average full time worker will work 1624 hours per year, if they work 35 hours a week (1820 hours a year minus 196 paid leave hours).

There are 8760 hours in total in a year - which means many of us spend around 19% of our year at work.

Total work hours in a lifetime

In the UK, workers can begin to claim their State Pension aged 66. Assuming they begin working full time at the age of 20, this means at least 46 years of full time work for most people.

This equates to 74,704 work hours across an employees lifetime.

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