How Many Work Hours Are in a Year?

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When you have a job at which you are paid by the hour, it’s helpful to figure out how much you’ll make in a year. Say you make $20 an hour — you can convert that to a yearly wage, but to do that, you need to know how many work hours there are in a year.

How Many Work Hours Are in a Year?

It seems like a simple question, and in some ways it is. There are 52 weeks in a year, and most people get two weeks of vacation and/or sick time — sometimes called “paid time off,” or PTO. So that leaves 50 weeks of work, at 40 hours per week, or 2000 work hours in a year.

Other Factors That Affect Working Hours

Two thousand hours is a good ballpark, but if you want to get specific, you’ll need to look at a few things.

Holidays

There are eleven federal holidays each year. They are:

Federal employees get these days off, so the post office is closed, and most banks are closed. Many private employers give employees these days off as well, but whether you get paid for them or not may depend on your employer, your job type and whether you are a part-time or full-time employee.

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If your company is closed on these holidays, but you don’t get paid for them, you’ll need to subtract these hours from the number of hours you work in a year to find your accurate annual wage.

Vacation

Some employers provide paid vacation time to their employees. Again, this may depend on whether you are a part-time or full-time employee, or whether you are paid an hourly rate or an annual salary. It may also depend on how long you have been with the company.

If your employer does not pay you for vacation time, subtract the hours for the days you take off for some rest and relaxation.

Sick Time

You may be allotted a certain number of sick days in a year, for which you will be paid. If not, or if you take more sick days than your employer allows, you’ll need to account for those hours when determining the number of hours you work in a year.

Note that many employers are combining sick and vacation time and calling it “paid time off,” or PTO. Employees have a certain number of days or hours they can take off, whether it’s because they are sick, to care for a sick family member or for vacation time.

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Example: Choosing Between Two Jobs

Here’s an example of how the number of hours worked in a year can vary, resulting in a different annual income even if the hourly wage is the same.

Suppose Joe Worker has two job offers to choose from. They both pay $15 per hour. Job A includes 11 paid federal holidays and 5 sick days. After a year, Joe gets one week of paid vacation. Job B includes five paid sick days and one week of paid vacation right away, but Joe does not get paid for federal holidays.

There are 52 weeks in a year and 40 work hours in a week, which comes out to 2,080 working hours before any time off is considered. In Job A, Joe will get 88 hours of paid holiday time and 40 hours of paid sick time in the first year. So he will work 1,952 hours, but he will get paid for 2,080 hours at $15 per hour, or $31,200. After the first year, he’ll get an additional 40 hours of paid vacation time, meaning he will work 1,912 hours for the same wage.

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At Job B, Joe will get 40 hours of paid vacation time and 40 hours of sick time. His company is closed on federal holidays, but he doesn’t get paid for that time. So, he will work 1,912 hours and get paid for 1,992 hours at $15 per hour, or $29,880.

Final Take

The important thing is to understand the number of hours you are expected to work in a year, and which, if any, hours you will get paid for that you don’t have to work. This is particularly important if you are considering a new job or have more than one job offer to choose from.

Understanding the number of hours you will be required to work in a year will give you a good basis for comparison, and you’ll know just what’s expected of you before you commit to a new position.

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About the Author

Karen Doyle is a personal finance writer with over 20 years’ experience writing about investments, money management and financial planning. Her work has appeared on numerous news and finance websites including GOBankingRates, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, USA Today, CNBC, Equifax.com, and more.
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