Americans, as we know, work many more hours than people in other advanced countries. As it turns out, they also work many more strange hours: on weekends and at night.
According to a new study by Daniel S. Hamermesh and Elena Stancanelli, “Long Workweeks and Strange Hours” [pdf], the United States has the highest incidence of people reporting any paid weekend work. Twenty-nine percent of Americans reported performing such work in the American Time Use Survey, more than three times the rate among Spanish workers. And twenty-seven percent of American workers report working nights, which the study defines rather strictly as any work performed between 10 PM and 6 AM.
American workers appear to be performing more work at less desirable times as well as working longer hours than their counterparts in other wealthy countries.
The authors also find that
only a small part of the relatively high incidence of such work in the U.S. is due to Americans’ long work weeks. The large majority of the differences between the U.S. and other countries appears to result from differences in the way that work is structured in America.
The conclusion: Americans are being forced to have the freedom to work both more and stranger hours in this increasingly strange land.