Standard working hours in Asia

Standard working hours in Asia

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Everybody’s talking about how traditional 9 to 5 jobs are dying out in favor of ones with a more flexible schedule. But, we cannot help, but wonder: are we working more, now, with greater flexibility, or we’re at the same eight hours work span? We decided to cover standard working hours in Asia in this blog post, but we cannot even start this article without looking into how our work hours looked like during the past century.


The standard 40-hours workweek is a recent thing believe it or not. In the U.S. the law was passed in the 1940s, and before 1817 people worked up to 100 hours a week! And even though lots of things have changed for the West, the East remained one of the most vicious working environments of the modern age. 


A short overview of how working hours in Asia look like:


Standard working hours in Asia


Singapore: Employees are working for eight hours per day and 44 hours per week.

Malaysia: Employees are working eight hours per day and 48 hours per week.

Indonesia: Employees are working 40 hours per week, with seven hours per day for a six-day workweek or eight hours per day for a five-day workweek.

Hong Kong: There are no statutory provisions on working hours for employees aged 18 and above.

China: Employees are working eight hours per day and 40 hours per week.

Japan: Employees are working eight hours per day and 40 hours per week.

Thailand: Employees are working eight hours per day and 48 hours per week.*


The state with the longest working hours in Asia, South Korea, starts to change the opinion



The country with the highest number of working hours in Asia, South Korea, passed a law in July 2018. Where they reduced their working week from 68 hours to 53 hours to boost productivity in their workers. Boosting productivity was not the sole reason behind this decision. The South Korean government believes a shorter workweek will increase the country’s birth rate.


By working more, we achieve less



Working more doesn’t equal in boosted productivity. Quite the contrary. In a recent experiment, company Perpetual Guardian gave their employees an extra day off every week, with no change in pay and employment conditions. And despite the reduced hours, employees saw the increase in productivity and satisfaction up to 20 percent! 

Japan is another Asian country known for long working hours, however, they seem unable to cash in them. That’s why they’ve started cutting down overtime and using other tactics to increase productivity in their employees which we can see in the chart below.


Better time and leave management can potentially solve the problem of long working hours


We’ve learned that standard working hours in Asia are above average compared to the rest of the world. Shorter working hours and regular vacations can result in a productivity boost. And engagement and overall satisfaction will follow.


Vacation Tracker was made with one sole intention on our mind: to effectively use the time we spend working and have equally spread vacations and days off to help employees stay energized and motivated.


This Slack integration makes an employee leave tracking seamlessly easy. Employees are now able to send requests in a matter of seconds, they just need to type /vacation in their Slack account. On the other side, managers are notified instantly which enables them to react fast. Those are only a few among the many benefits of Vacation Tracker for your team. And it doesn’t cost anything to try others: sign up for a free 14-days trial and take Vacation Tracker for a spin!