How Many Hours are In a Year?

How Many Hours in a Year

What are your working hours?

Working hours are the total hours that you put into your job in a given year. The simple answer may seem like 40 hours if you are full-time and less if you are part-time. But the truth is many of us put in more hours than the norm on the job description. From supporting special projects to pulling late nights in the office to finish that key proposal, many individuals may average more than 40 hours a week when they start to count their hours spent.

Key takeaways

  • Understanding how many hours you work in a year is important for achieving a good work-life balance and carving out the capacity to pursue hobbies and interests
  • In a typical work year, an individual may work 1920 hours
  • In Canada, the standard work hours are 8 hours in a consecutive period and or 40 hours within a week; hours in excess of this is overtime

Why do my working hours matter?

Understanding how many hours a week you are working is important for four reasons:

  1. Work-life balance – understanding how much time you are spending at work versus with your family and friends can help you understand your work-life balance. By doing so, you can block off dedicated time to other areas of your life that require attention, such as relationships, family, and hobbies.
  2. Side-hustle – for those who want to pursue hobbies above and beyond their full-time job, understanding how much time you can dedicate is important for determining how much you can grow your side hustle.
  3. Contractor and Self-Employed – for those who are looking to make the switch to contractor or self-employment status, calculating the total hours will allow you to get a sense of what your current hourly rate is. This can serve as a benchmark to market rates, which can help you assess if contracting may be a better option.
  4. Productivity Measure – another reason for understanding your working hours is to gain a sense of how efficient you are in your work. Measure how long it typically takes you to perform your work tasks and see if there are opportunities for process improvements. This will ultimately help your productivity.

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How many hours are there in a year?

To calculate how many hours are in a year, perform the following calculation:

  1. 5 days per week x 52 weeks = 260 days
  2. Less statutory holidays (approximately 10 depending on the province, territory, and or state ) = 250
  3. Less vacation time (10 days is the standard) = 240 days
  4. 240 days X 8 hours per day = 1920 hours in a year

The total work hours in a year may differ depending on your jurisdiction and even your industry. For example, some industries may observe bank holidays while others may not.

Hourly pay vs. salary pay

Hourly pay compensates works for every hour they work. On the other hand, salary workers receive a fixed rate for their work. Additionally, they do not receive compensation for overtime.

Employers typically use hourly pay for roles where time is a factor for productivity. They leverage this for work that requires a flexible arrangement, meaning they can increase and or decrease hours with seasonality. For example, warehouse packagers are likely to be hourly workers since an additional hour at work means more packages shipping out. If you are being asked by an employer to move from being compensated hourly to salary for the same position, it is important to understand what the expectations are. This can ensure that you are not being asked to work more than is reasonable for a 40 hour workweek.

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Overtime in Canada

Many countries have labor laws, which govern and regulate the working conditions of citizens. Within those are rules around how many hours individuals are legally allowed to work. The time that is above the regulated hours is considered overtime. For these hours, employers may be required to be additional wages to employees.

In Canada, the standard hours of work are eight hours in a day within any 24 consecutive hour period, and or 40 hours per week. Hours that are worked above this are considered overtime hours. These hours are to be paid at 1.5 times the hourly wage.


Robert earns an hourly rate of $20 per hour at the warehouse. His boss has asked him to cover for a sick coworker during the next shift. The shift is 4 hours in addition to his standard 8-hour shift.

Robert would earn $20 for the first eight hours, for a total of $160.

He would earn $30 for the next four hours, for a total of $120.

This puts Robert’s total at $280 for the day.

For hourly workers, overtime pay can be a great incentive for taking on extra shifts, which allows for variable income.

Exceptions to standard hours

Various industries and professions are exempt from the standard hours of work in Canada. This is typically due to the inherent nature of the job. For example, truck drivers are subject to a different set of standard work hours that accommodate for the lengthy duration of their work and travels. Professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, and engineers, are also exempt from overtime hours. Instead, they are paid a salary for their work.

As a leader, it is important to familiarize yourself with the labor laws, regulations, and standards in your jurisdiction. This ensures that you are in compliance with the law. Additionally, staying on top of trends around work-life balance and hours is equally important in remaining competitive in the market.

Related Readings

Getting People Right (GPR) is an educational website providing professionals from all types of businesses with practical education in entrepreneurial leadership. To keep evolving your leadership toolkit, additional GPR resources below will be useful:

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