Working four days a week, the hypothesis under consideration

Reduce working days from five to four, simultaneously lengthening the individual working days. It is the idea of belgian government which arrives in the package of proposals for the reform of the market work. This is a measure launched by partito liberal Open-Vld the prime minister Alexander de Croo. Basically, the days of work would drop to four, with one more day off. The hours of work would not be reduced, but would be “spread” on short week, increasing from 7 and a half hours a day to 9 and a half.

Short week at work, supporters in Belgium

The proposal of liberal party causes debate and divides the Belgian government itself. Both the employers and the trade unions with whom the executive should negotiate when the measure becomes official are skeptical. Among his supporters, the French-speaking liberals of the Mr, according to whom the short week would allow a better reconciliation between professional and private life. A day off plus, according to liberals, it would reduce the risk of work-related mental problems such as «burn out» and it would also be eco-friendly reducing the commuting.

Short week in Belgium, unions against

According to the trade unions, a reform that does not decrease the number of hours but changes its distribution not only does not improve the lives of workers, but it can increase the risk of Accidents at work. It’s not all. Among the criticalities highlighted by the trade associations, there is also a worsening of life for parents with children of school age, who would spend the whole day away from home. Furthermore, underline the labor unions, nine and a half hours is a much longer time than indicated by the international conventions.

Short week, here’s where in Europe

The Belgium it is just the latest in a series of countries in Europe in which we started talking about a short week. For years, the “four days” have been experienced in Spain e Ireland, but with a consequent reduction in hours. Not only. The four-day week (and fewer hours worked) is a hit in Iceland.

A Reykjavík the tests carried out led many public administration workers to decrease their working hours between 2015 and 2019. During this time, workers were paid the same way, working fewer hours and productivity increased in most workplaces.

In Spain A pilot project is underway involving 200 companies, which will experiment with the four day week. In all these cases, however, with the shortening of the week the number of hours worked decreases. For many experts, reducing the work week and working hours is the only way to truly improve workers’ lives. Studies show that many employees would even be willing to cut their salaries in order to work fewer hours. The Spanish company Unequal announced that 86% of workers said yes to a referendum on the four-day working week, of which three in presence and one in smart working. With a reduction in hours of 13.5% and a cut on the remuneration of 6.5%.

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