In the US and many other countries, there is no legislative regulation as for how many hours an employee shall work weekly. The restriction usually falls on the minor employees who have their duties at school and cannot work for as long as they want to. The US law also requires to pay extra salary to those working more than 40 hours per week. As for the rest, employers are free to decide how long and how intense their people shall work, how much responsibility they bear, and how much they get at the end of the day.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that a standard workweek lies between 35 and 44 hours per week. Most employers try to fit in this framework, however some of them still rely on employees who regularly overwork. The monetary compensation for the extra work usually depends on the employer’s ethics. Governmental agencies can intrude into the cases of companies overuse the labor force, but with every year employers become more keen at how to exploit the workforce without showing a sign of it.
It is difficult to say whether we need a strict mandatory regulation of a workweek or not. It is rather important that employees do not work beyond 45 hours per week. This shall be the mandatory cap for office workers; people working in the industrial sector shall have a lower cap because of damaging working conditions.