The four-day work week has been the subject of much speculation over the past few years, especially during the pandemic, when the balance between personal life and work time has become significantly unbalanced. Some companies have already gone so far as to implement it, but there is a good chance that it will become some sort of law.
The latest debate around the four-day working week comes from the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit. It suggests implementing the new program in sectors with “difficulties in attracting staff”, fields which are significantly more numerous than you might think and face similar problems regardless of country.
How do you solve the problem of missing staff?
Nicolas Schmit believes that “the biggest problem [din Uniunea Europeană] it’s not so much unemployment,” but rather a lack of labor. “Many industries are desperate for employees and can’t find them because people don’t want to work there or don’t have the right skills,” he says. “They have to become more attractive”, according to the Luxembourger, who points out that “it is something that is gradually advancing (…) because the new generations have a certain vision of the balance between work and personal life”. But he warns that “there is no common position” within the EU on this topic, according to Economedia.ro.
Until a large-scale implementation, the European official explained that “negotiations between social partners” are necessary, giving the example of Germany. There, IG-Metall, the largest union in the country, has been advocating for many years the generalization of the four-day work week in metallurgy.
The European official’s announcement comes as Portugal prepares to launch a pilot project around the four-day working week. No less than 46 companies have expressed their interest in participating in the initiative and implementing the reform. Many of them have up to 10 employees, but there are also five giants with over 1000 employees open to implementing these mechanisms.
France is also an area of good practice when it comes to the new working schedule, here tests are done even in state institutions for only four working days a week with extended hours. In Romania, ING implemented it and we detailed that effort here.