Long days the norm, despite what survey about work finds

Zoe Sagalow, special to WTOP

WASHINGTON — Fifteen or 16-hour workdays are normal for Jean Bager.

The same goes for Juan Manuel and Gloria Benedikt. All three are from the D.C. region.

Each says they work much more than the typical eight-hour workday, but that’s contrary to a new study that found Americans worked an average of 7.6 hours each workday.

The 2013 American Time Use Survey, published Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, provided insight into how Americans spend their days — including how much they work, how they split household labor and how they spend their free time.

“My time — I spend every second of it doing something,” says Bager, who lives in Maryland. “It’s after 3 [p.m.], and we’re just taking a break. We’re just having lunch.”

For Manuel, “Eight hours is just like saying a fairy tale. … I have to work from 8 (a.m.) to sometimes 10 o’clock at night.

“Sometimes you have to spend more time at the office or even outside of the office.”

The study found that people living with children younger than 6 had about an hour less of free time, on average, each day than employed people without children living with them.

Benedikt has free time, but it’s hard to enjoy.

“The time you consider work and the time that is spare time — there’s no real distinction,” says Benedikt, who lives in Georgetown.

“You kind of never stop, but you’re actually not as efficient as you could be. It’s just you don’t make that time to take a break.”

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