Working time is the period of time that a person spends at paid labor. Unpaid labor such as personal housework or caring for children or pets is not considered standard worker’s pre-school education of the working week.
Many countries regulate the work week by law, such as stipulating minimum daily rest periods, annual holidays, and a maximum number of working hours per week. If an employee needs to work overtime, the employer will need to pay overtime payments to employees as required in the law. Subsequent studies in the 1970s examined the Machiguenga of the Upper Amazon and the Kayapo of northern Brazil. These studies expanded the definition of work beyond purely hunting-gathering activities, but the overall average across the hunter-gatherer societies he studied was still below 4. The industrial revolution made it possible for a larger segment of the population to work year-round, because this labor was not tied to the season and artificial lighting made it possible to work longer each day.
Over the 20th century, work hours shortened by almost half, mostly due to rising wages brought about by renewed economic growth, with a supporting role from trade unions, collective bargaining, and progressive legislation. Technology has also continued to improve worker productivity, permitting standards of living to rise as hours decline. Economic growth in monetary terms tends to be concentrated in health care, education, government, criminal justice, corrections, and other activities that are regarded as necessary for society rather than those that contribute directly to the production of material goods. In the mid-2000s, the Netherlands was the first country in the industrialized world where the overall average working week dropped to less than 30 hours.