The coronavirus pandemic led to a 15 per cent drop in the number of actual hours worked in Cyprus in 2020 compared to 2019 – more than the EU27 average of 12 per cent, according to figures published by Eurostat on Monday.
The EU’s statistical office said that at the national level, there was a decline in hours worked across all Member States.
The highest declines were recorded for Greece (-19.7 per cent), Spain (-19.5 per cent), Portugal and Italy (both -19.0 per cent).
Cyprus’ 15 per cent drop in the number of actual hours worked in the main job was the seventh biggest in the EU.
The EU countries where there was little change in hours worked (with a reduction of less than 5 per cent) were: Finland (-4.4 per cent), Denmark and Luxembourg (both -4.1 per cent) and the Netherlands (-3.2 per cent).
Throughout the EU, 26.9 million employed people reported that they had worked less than their usual working hours in 2020. This compared with 24.4 million employed persons working less than their usual working hours in 2019.
The primary reason for the increase in the number of people working fewer hours than usual was temporary lay-offs: the number of temporary lay-offs ballooned from 0.5 million in 2019 to 3.9 million in 2020. In addition, 5.8 million people worked less hours than usual for other reasons (which include parental and special leave, education and training) in 2020, up from 4.7 million in 2019.
Over the same period, the number of people who worked more than their usual hours decreased regardless of the reason for working more. The number of people working overtime declined from 7.3 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020; the number of those who had worked more due to variable hours fell by 1 million to 4.7 million and the number of those who worked more for other reasons decreased by 0.5 million to 2.3 million.