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Revealed: French workers will clock off four years before Brits

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Revealed: French workers will clock off four years before Brits
Photo: AFP
11:27 CEST+02:00
When French workers have downed their tools and headed to the beach after 35 years of hard work, the Brits will still be slogging away for a few years more, new stats have revealed.
In 2016, a 15 year-old in France could expect to spend on average 35 years of their life working, according to new figures from the European Union statistics office (Eurostat).
 
This compares to an EU-wide average of 35.6 years, showing that French workers don't perhaps have it as easy as their reputation suggests. 
 
But they still won't spend as much as their lives slogging it out as the Brits will. Over the English Channel workers will on average spend 38.8 years of their lives toiling away. In Germany the figure is 38.1 years.
 
While workers in France can retire at 62 and claim a state pension (if they have paid enough contributions) while in Germany and the UK it is 65 and will soon rise to 68 and 67 respectively.
 
The 'duration of working life' study measures the number of years a person, aged 15, can expect to be active in the labour market, either employed or unemployed, throughout their life.
 
And it might come as a surprise to some that out of all the EU nations it's the Swedes who dedicate the most of their lives to their jobs, with an average working life of 41.3 years. 
 
To put that in context Swedes on average work for 10 years more than their Italian counterparts. 
 
However spare a thought for workers in Iceland, which is not in the EU. Up in the land of volcanoes and geysers, workers will put in 47.4 years of work during their lives.  
 
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The average number of years spent working by population. Eurostat. 
 
France, however, where on Thursday there was a second day of mass protests against French President Emmanuel Macron's labour reforms, sits right in the middle of the European average along with neighbouring Spain. 
 
According to the study, the French also falls short of the German average where people put in 38.1 years of work, but are ahead of Belgium and Italy, where people work 32.6 years and 31.2 years, respectively. 
 
The study shows that when it comes to the average number of years spent working, the EU can be divided into three groups. 
 
At the top, along with Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Switzerland (included despite not being a member of the EU), where people work an average of 40 to 44.9 years of their lives. 
 
In the second category - which includes France, Portugal, Spain, Germany, the UK and Ireland - people work between 35 and 39.9 years. 
 
Finally, countries where people work less than 35 years include Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia. 
 
"The most important distinction between these three groups is the number of women who work," economist Hippolyte D'Albis told Le Figaro. "In the northern countries of Europe, women are very much a part of the job market, which raises the populations' overall number of working years." 
 
Another factor is the number of older citizens who work. However, if you restricted the study only to include men, we would find that the general difference between European countries would be fairly stable."
 
But while the French might work as many years as the average European, when it comes to how many hours they put in in a year, it's a different story. 
 
In 2016, The Local reported on a study indicating that the French work fewer hours than any other European country.
 
That study showed that full-time salaried workers in France put in 1,646 hours in 2015, which amounted to 199 fewer hours than the Germans, 130 fewer than the Italians, and 228 fewer than the Brits.

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