Israelis Near Top of Workaholism Table

Five percent of Israeli salaried workers earning more than NIS 30 per hour work more than 60 hours a week, a study compiled by the Bank of Israel found. The incidence of work weeks amounting to 60 hours or more is higher in Israel than in all but three OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) member states.

Of the 30 OECD members, only South Korea, Japan and Mexico boast a greater amount of work hours, the study revealed.

The phenomenon mainly characterizes educated Jewish men, aged between 35 and 44. They are employed mostly as managers (18 percent), academics (23 percent) and engineers or technicians (21 percent). Many of them work in public service, in hi-tech and research and development.

The study, which is slated to be included in a publication named "Financial Developments of Recent Months," concludes that addiction to work (workaholism) has expanded in recent decades due to the rise of individualism, as well as the establishment of companies that operate in a global environment, which gives rise to a round-the-clock work day due to time zone differences.

The study also attributes the rise in workaholism to the decline of unions, technological advances, more day-care options that facilitate working while raising children, and the widening socio-economic gap, which increases the advantages of over-working.

However, the study concludes, the workaholism phenomenon came to a halt in Western Europe in the late 1990s.

Employers encourage workaholism, the study maintains, by blurring the line between work and leisure and by supplying employees with the technology that allows them to work at any time.

Most workaholics who earn relatively high wages are less likely to forgo work in favor of a family obligation. These employees are also less likely to contribute to domestic chores. The study maintains that because family life appears less important to workaholics than work, they are also more likely to skip family vacations.

Workaholism has many implications for the worker as well as the economy: It can harm an employee's health by increasing stress and anxiety, leading to fatigue and high blood pressure, and can also sabotage social relationships and at times even lead to divorce. In extreme cases, the phenomenon can cause death.