40 hours a week is a good rule. Overwork can kill you.


Limiting the work week to 40 hours isn’t just organized labor’s most important historic win. It also prevents an early death for working people. 

According to a new global study conducted by the World Health Organization together with the International Labour Organization, people working 55 or more hours a week have a 35% higher risk of dying from a stroke and a 17% higher risk of dying from heart disease, compared to those who work 35 to 40 hours a week. The study found the greatest health burden from overwork is in men and workers who are middle-age or older.

Researchers reviewed dozens of studies on heart disease and stroke and analyzed working hour data from 194 countries. They estimated that in 2016, 488 million people (8.9% of the world’s population) were exposed to long working hours of over 55 hours a week. Less than 5% of the U.S. population is exposed to that many work hours. Researchers estimated that 745,194 deaths from heart disease and stroke were attributable to overwork that year.



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