Evolution and structure of shorter working hours

This box describes labour market developments in terms of the use of shorter working hours as a reaction to adverse economic developments in the past. The CZSO’s Labour Force Survey figures, which allow an analysis of data since 2007, were used for this purpose.

The number of employees working shorter hours is strongly countercyclical(see Chart 1). During a decline in economic activity, the number of employees working full-time is seen to fall, while the number of those working shorter hours rises sharply. This implies that the working hours of some employees have probably been shortened. This phenomenon was observed in 2012. By contrast, the temporary recovery of the Czech economy in 2010 and 2011 led to a decline in the number of employees working shorter hours, with some part-timers probably switching back to full-time work.

Chart 1 (BOX) GDP, total employment and its components
Part-time employment is strongly countercyclical
(q-o-q changes)


As a result of the economic contraction observed until recently, the proportion of employees working shorter hours in the total number of employees has been creeping up since 2012, reaching almost 7% in 2013. This is due mainly to a growing share of women, as the figure for men has risen only slightly. Overall, the number of employees working shorter hours increased from less than 250,000 in 2007 to almost 330,000 in 2013 (see Chart 2). Almost three-quarters of this total is made up of women, most of them in the 30–44 age group. Most are therefore probably women returning to the labour market after parental leave. In 2012 and 2013, however, the number of women working shorter hours also increased in the youngest age group (15–29 years). In 2013, their number rose most of all in the sectors of wholesale and retail trade and hotels and restaurants.

Chart 2 (BOX) Structure of part-time employees by gender and age
Women make up the majority of part-time employees
(numbers in thousands)


Turning to selected sectors,1  education and wholesale and retail trade have been the main contributors to the year-on-year growth in part-time employment in the period since the second half of 2012 (see Chart 3). A large increase in part-time employment was also observed in the high-weight manufacturing sector in late 2012 and early 2013, although this diminished later in 2013 as industrial production recovered. As for the other sectors, the contributions of administration and other support activities and hotels and restaurants are also significant.

Chart 3 (BOX) Contributions of selected sectors to annual change in shorter hours worked
Education, health and trade have been affecting the dynamics of part-time employment the most
(contributions in percentage points to annual change)


1The Labour Force Survey figures contain data only for the main economic sectors. The sum of employed persons working shorter hours in individual sectors may thus not be equal to the total number of persons working shorter hours. Data for individual CZ-NACE sectors have been available only since 2009.