Nonworking Time

Nonworking Time


the time not occupied in socially necessary labor of production. (The term “nonworking time,” vnerabochee vremia, was introduced by Soviet economists in the 1950’s.) It equals the difference between calendar and work time and includes the majority of calendar time. It consists of time connected with work in production (such as traveling to and from work), time spent in house-work, time for satisfaction of physiological needs (sleeping, eating), and free time (leisure).

Under conditions of capitalism, nonworking time should be distinguished from the forced inactivity of the unemployed or part-time employees. There the length of the working day is primarily determined by the correlation of class forces of organized workers and entrepreneurs.

Under socialism, the amount of working time is established by the state in relation to the achieved economic level and, especially, the level of the productivity of labor. With the development of production capacity, it becomes possible to shorten the working day and at the same time increase the amount of nonworking time (daily, and therefore weekly, monthly, and yearly). In the USSR the duration of nonworking time per week for industrial workers in 1969 was 18 hours more than in 1913, reaching 125.4 hours (out of 168 calendar hours). The annual amount of nonworking time of workers in the USSR is also growing on account of the increase in the duration of paid vacation. Since Jan. 1, 1968, the minimum vacation has been established at 15 working days (instead of the previous 12). The average duration of vacation in 1968 was 20.9 days.

The problem of improving the use of nonworking time in socialist countries is a governmental one. Socialist governments are interested in increasing the amount of time the individual spends on education, intellectual and physical development, social activities, and friendly socializing. In the years of Soviet power, the use of nonworking time has significantly improved. The progress in all forms of social service and the change to the five-day workweek with two days off has led to a decrease (both relative and absolute) in time spent doing housework and has permitted an increase of free time and the improvement of its structure (formed under the influence of socioeconomic factors as well as demographic factors). Nevertheless, because of inadequate progress in service areas, workers still spend much of their time doing housework and traveling to and from their place of employment; the problem of further improvement of their use of nonworking time is still a pressing one. The study of nonworking time is being conducted with the help of time budgets devised for the entire population and its separate groups and the analysis of statistical indexes disclosing the life-style and living conditions of workers.


Strumilin, S. G. Problemy ekonomiki truda. Moscow, 1957.
Prudenskii, G. A. Vremia i trud. Moscow, 1965.
Kriazhev, V. G. Vnerabochee vremia i sfera obsluzhivaniia. Moscow, 1966.
Maslov, P. P. Sotsiologiia i statistika. Moscow, 1967.
Piatidnevnaia rabochaia nedelia. Moscow, 1967.


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