How Many Work Hours & Days Are in a Year?

Did 2020 feel like an especially long year? (no, not because of that!)

That’s because there were 262 work days – you worked 53 Wednesdays and 53 Thursdays!

Ever wonder how many work days and work hours are in each year? Seems like a simple question, right?

And if you don’t need to be precise – it’s is.

In general, there are 52 weeks in each year and 40 hours per work day.

This equates to:

  • 260 Work Days in a Year
  • 2080 Work Hours in a Year

However, there are a lot of different exceptions to these general rules. Not every year has the same number of weekdays. Not every year has the same number of days (leap years).

While the general rule of thumb is often good enough, there’s an easy way to calculate the exact number of work days and work hours each year:

Table of Contents
  1. Standard Year – 52 Weeks, 2080 Hours
    1. How to Quickly Count Work Days
  2. Leap Year – 366 Days
  3. Work Days in Each Year
  4. Remember Holidays

Standard Year – 52 Weeks, 2080 Hours

If you work a corporate job, your company’s human resources department thinks about your work schedule as having 52 weeks and 2080 hours. If you have two weeks of vacation, that’s 2000 working hours and 80 hours of vacation, or paid time off (PTO).

This can help you calculate your hourly rate if you know your salary. Or vice versa.

If you make $50,000 a year, then your hourly rate is $25 an hour before taxes.

If you make $15 an hour, your annual income will be $30,000 per year.

It’s a quick rule of thumb you can use to quickly calculate those numbers.

How to Quickly Count Work Days

To quickly count the number of work days, you simply need to look at the first week of January and the last week of December. There are only 52 weeks in a year so there will always be a duplicate day between the two weeks.

That’s the 365th day and that year will have 53 of those days.

For example, if you look at the calendar for 2021, the day happens in both the first week of January and the last week of December is Friday. There are 53 Fridays in 2021.

So for 2021, we have 261 work days.

If you look at the calendar for 2020, there are two duplicates! (Wednesday and Thursday) What’s going on!? That’s because 2020 was a leap year. So you have 53 Wednesdays and 53 Thursdays in 2020.

So for 2020, we have 262 work days.

Leap Year – 366 Days

Leap years are interesting because they add a day at the end of February. Depending on the year, this could be an additional weekend day or a weekday. To calculate your work days, you’ll need to look at the calendar and literally count the number of week days to really know.

Work Days in Each Year

Using our “first week in January and last week in December” rule, we know that:

Total Work Days260260261262261
Total Work Hours20802080208820962088
Total work hours assumes 8 hours per work day

As it turns out, despite the rule of thumb being 52 weeks and 260 work days, the reality is that the average is higher because there are more weekday days (5) than weekend days (2). The duplicate day is more likely to be a weekday day than a weekend day!

Enjoy the next two years because they’re the shortest “work years” – we duplicate Saturday (2022) and Sunday (2023).

Remember Holidays

Finally, there are 10 paid Federal holidays (bank holidays) and if your employer offers those, you can further reduce the number of work days you have. That will depend on your arrangement with your employer so our figures will exclude those because not everyone get these days off.

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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