Do nothing on 'neděle'? Czechs are above the EU average for working on Sundays

Even though the Czech word for Sunday literally means ‘do nothing’ about a quarter of the workforce is active.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 17.06.2021 18:02:00 (updated on 18.06.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Despite the Czech word for Sunday – neděle – meaning “do nothing,” about a quarter of all employed Czechs regularly or occasionally spend Sundays at work, according to pre-pandemic figures just released by the Czech Statistical Office (ČSÚ). This amounts to about 1.3 million people.

In 2006 the proportion was over 30 percent. Even though the figure has fallen over the past 15 years, the Czech Republic's share of 25.6 percent is above the EU average of 23.8 percent.

The Netherlands had the highest share of people working on Sundays in the EU with 37.3 percent, followed by Malta and Denmark with 35 percent. Germany, on the other hand, had the lowest proportion of people working on Sundays with 19.3 percent.

In the Czech Republic, one in 10 Czechs is regularly at work on Sundays, while another 14 percent go to work on Sundays occasionally. According to the ČSÚ, working on Sundays mainly concerns the retail sector, which employs an average of 353,000 people. The remaining 1 million people are employed in industries, restaurants, accommodation, transport, agriculture or culture. There are also workers in the health sector, as well as firefighters and police officers.

“The proportion of people working on Sundays is related to the focus of the region's economy. Especially the orientation toward industrial production influences the share of workers on the last day of the week,” the ČSÚ stated in its statistical magazine Statistika a My.

Religion does not seem to be a big factor in working on Sunday. The Czech Republic is one of the least religious countries in the world, with some 75 percent of people claiming not to believe. Slovakia, with only 23 percent claiming not to believe, is significantly more religious than the Czech Republic. But in Slovakia the share of employees who went to work on Sunday was around 31 percent, somewhat higher than in the Czech Republic.

According to the Labor Code, weekend work entitles the employee to the wage earned and a supplement of at least 10 percent of average earnings. The sectors that use Sunday work most often tend to be those with lower wages. The average gross monthly wage in the Czech Republic last year was CZK 35,611, while retail employees were below this average with CZK 32,305, according to recent reports by the ČSÚ.

For employees in industry, the average was CZK 34,528, in agriculture CZK 28,609, in transport CZK 31,931 and in culture CZK 31,592. In accommodation, catering and food services, the average of CZK 19,841 was the lowest of all the sectors surveyed. Wages of employees in health care and social care were above the average last year after a 14 percent increase, with the average exceeding CZK 41,000. this was due largely to bonuses and extra hours related to the pandemic.

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