CM – Four-day week « an overwhelming success » in Iceland

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Trials with a four-day week in Iceland were an « overwhelming success » and resulted in many workers switching to shorter hours, researchers said.

Between 2015 and 2019, the trials took place where Workers were paid the same amount for shorter working hours.

A number of other studies are currently ongoing worldwide, including in Spain and by Unilever in New Zealand.

In Iceland, the tests carried out by Reykjavík City Council and the national government included eventually more than 2,500 workers, which is about 1% of Iceland’s working population.

Many of them switched from a 40-hour week to a 35- or 36-hour week, said researchers at the UK think tank Autonomy and the Association for Sustainable Democracy (Alda) in Iceland.

The attempts resulted in the unions renegotiating work patterns and now 86% of the Icelandic workforce has either shorter A Working hours for the same wage or being entitled to it, the researchers said.

Workers reported feeling less stressed and at risk of burnout, and reported their health and work-life balance would have improved.

Will Stronge, Director of Research at Autonomy, said, « This study shows that the world’s largest attempt to reduce working hours in the public sector has been an overwhelming success.

 » It shows that the public sector is ripe to lead the way in shorter working weeks – and lessons can be learned for other governments. « 

Gudmundur D. Haraldsson, a researcher at Alda, said: » The shorter working week in Iceland shows us that it is Nowadays it is not only possible to work less, but that progressive changes are also possible. ”

Spain has a four-day working week for companies, partly due to the challenges of the coronavirus and Unilever in New Zealand is also giving its employees the opportunity to reduce their working hours by 20% without affecting their salaries in any process.

In May, a 4-day Weekly campaign commissioned by Platform London to suggest that shorter working hours could reduce the UK’s carbon footprint.

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