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Three-day work week? Country by country breakdown of how much we work

Netherlands - Average work hours per week: 29. Average annual wages: $47,000 <span class=meta>(Photo/WikiMedia Commons)</span>
Do you wish your weekend stretched past Saturday and Sunday? The richest man in the world thinks it should.

Carlos Slim Helu, the Mexican telecom mogul worth nearly $80 billion, laid out his three-day workweek argument at a recent business conference. Slim believes a shorter workweek would lead to more creativity and a healthier, longer life. But here's the catch: In exchange for a four-day weekend, the average worker should put in an 11-hour workday, and work until they are at least 70 years old.

Slim's argument goes against the old standard in the United States: five-day work weeks and eight hours a day until retirement at age 65. So would you rather work a three-day work week at 11 hours a day? Or a five-day work week at eight hours a day?

Here's a look at the shortest workweeks around the world, according to a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.

Netherlands
Average work hours per week: 29
Average annual wages: $47,000
The Netherlands have a standard four-day work week. There are even laws in place that give workers the right to reduce their hours to a part-time schedule, while keeping their job, hourly pay, health care and benefits.

Denmark
Average work hours per week: 33
Average annual wages: $46,000
Danish workers also have a right to at least five weeks of paid vacation each year.

Norway
Average work hours per week: 33
Average annual wages: $44,000
Norway's maternity leave can extend to 43 weeks at full pay, or 53 weeks at reduced pay.

Ireland
Average work hours per week: 34
Average annual wages: $51,000
A drop in full-time farming jobs has caused Ireland's work week average to plummet over the last 30 years.

Germany
Average work hours per week: 35
Average annual wages: $40,000
Nearly one in four German workers are part-time.

Switzerland
Average work hours per week: 35
Average annual wages: $50,000
Swiss workers earn nearly the same as the average American worker, but work 155 hours less each year.

Belgium
Average work hours per week: 35
Average annual wages: $44,000
The Belgium Government created "career breaks". Every Belgium worker is entitled to a one-year paid break during their working lifetime.

Sweden
Average work hours per week: 36
Average annual wages: $38,000
Collective bargaining has pushed for a gradually shorter work week over time, as well as flexible working hours and telecommuting.

Australia
Average work hours per week: 36
Average annual wages: $45,000
The Australian government passed laws giving workers a right to public holidays, severance pay and leave under a variety of scenarios, including community service work.

Italy
Average work hours per week: 36
Average annual wages: $34,000
Overtime is limited to 8 hours. Employers can face fines if workers exceed that amount.

United States
Average work hours per week: 38
Average annual wages: $55,000
Four out of five employees work at least 35 hours a week, and the U.S. is the only developed nation that does not guarantee workers a vacation.

Would you rather work longer hours and less days, or more days and less hours? Let us know in the comments below.

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