June 14, 2024

Portugal enters the four-day work week

More and more countries are experimenting with introducing the four-day week. Now Portugal is following suit.

Everyone’s talking about the four-day week: full compensation pay with reduced hours and the same workload – can that work? In Europe, Belgium, Iceland, Great Britain and Spain, among others, have introduced the model at least on a trial basis for the past three years. The reduced working time model is also now being tested in Portugal.

Corporate voluntary participation

Participation in the pilot project is voluntary. Portuguese private companies can apply. Transitioned by a global non-profit organization “4 Day Week Global” In cooperation with the Portuguese government, there are no financial incentives from the state at the moment.

A total of 39 private companies are participating in the six-month project, including a nursing home, a stem cell bank, handicraft companies and trading companies. Some of them have already started a similar model before the official launch of the project at the beginning of June and are now continuing to do so as part of the newly launched initiative. In the meantime, companies promise to reduce working hours with full pay compensation, but the project can be canceled at any time without notice.

Consistent productivity with less work

With the project, “4 Day Week Global” first of all wants to rest the employees. The reduced stress level should prevent burnout and take into account the mental and physical health of the workers. Furthermore, workers should be able to achieve a better work-life balance.

Indeed, there is a study so far The UK’s largest four-day experience It was screened to a mostly positive result. As in Portugal, the UK started with a six-month pilot project.

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From the summer to the winter of 2022, about 3,000 people and 61 companies participated in the project. After the pilot phase was completed, 90 percent of the participating employees said they wanted to continue the abbreviated work week. Another 40 percent stated that relaxing time had a very positive effect on their mental health. The participating companies explained that productivity remained the same despite the decrease in working hours, and they also recorded an increase in profits. So reducing working hours is not as altruistic to companies as it was in the beginning.

A project in its infancy

in Belgium A similar law entered into force only in November last year. The employees there were able to decide for themselves whether they wanted to work four or five days a week. So far, the four-day hype has not materialized: Less than 1 percent of employees in the private sector currently choose the alternative model.

The reason is noisy Securex management consulting On the other hand, the continued indecision of employers, who are not yet fully convinced of the advantages of the four-day-a-week system. In addition, companies fear an increase in administrative work that will have a negative impact on the structure and organization within the company, especially in those with a small number of employees. Despite the growing interest, the progressive working time model is still slowly approaching in Europe. More studies about effect four days a week In Europe it is expected in the near future and, depending on the outcome, could lead to a wider spread of the model.

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