Hardworking Italians

I’ve seen several reports recently of studies showing that Italians have more vacation days than anyone else in the world, except maybe the French. Most regularly-employed Italians during a year enjoy some long weekends, even longer Christmas and Easter breaks, and several weeks’ vacation in the summer. However, I’d like to see a study of total HOURS worked in a year. A normal workday for many is 8 or 9 am to 8 or 9 pm, and the leisurely two-hour lunch is a thing of the past, at least in northern Italy. A senior manager in Milan to whom I was teaching English last year worked from 9 am to 8 pm, Monday through Friday, with only a half-hour break for lunch. When anti-smoking rules were enforced, it was a real problem for him to take a five-minute break every two hours to go out and have a cigarette. Plus, he worked every Saturday from 9 to 1. By the time he got away on vacation, he certainly needed and deserved it.

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