Who works the most: the France-Germany match

The German and French flags. Illustrative photo. (JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP)

Five hundred employees on the French side, five hundred on the German side. The German company which publishes the KiwiRH software, intended to simplify administrative tasks, wanted to know who were the champions of the job and what were our little quirks. First surprise: on paper, it is the French who work the most. Their contract, for the average of those questioned, provides for 38.2 hours of work per week. Against 36.6 hours only for the Germans. We therefore won the battle with 1.6 hours more per week.

Except that in reality it is different. When asked this time how long they actually work, the ranking is reversed. The Germans say they work 37.9 hours, more than their contract, therefore, and the French 36.7 hours, an hour and a half less than expected on paper. According to this survey, which has no official figure, we therefore work 1.2 hours more per week across the Rhine than at home. In both countries, it is in SMEs that we work the most hours.

Workers in both countries agree on one thing: they would like to work less. The French significantly less, and the Germans a little less. Here, the people questioned say they want to work four hours less, and a little more than three hours for the Germans.

On the other hand, we massively work overtime: 90% of respondents say they do. But not for the same reasons in both countries. In France, it is first, as we can imagine, to earn more money. But in Germany, the first reason given is to have time to finish work. Reason much less often cited by the French. Another reason for overtime for the Germans: doing so allows them to have extra days off. In France, country of RTT and five weeks of vacation, this reason is much less often invoked.

Another cliché that falls: the French spend a lot of time at lunch. The Germans hang out more at the table, at canteen time: 41.7 minutes, against only 36.7 minutes for the French. And if we complain about often checking our emails, the Germans are stronger than us. Almost one in two French employees consult them outside of working hours. This is almost two out of three in Germany.

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