Is it time to shorten the work week?

Is it time to shorten the work week?

What if Thursday becomes the new Friday? The idea of ​​a four-day working week without pay cuts apparently also pleased Italians, and in a matter of days a petition launched on the subject on Change.org garnered over 17 thousand signatures. The idea that “in Italy we work a lot more than in many other European countries, especially in the north” and that “unfortunately in Italy is not even debated, on the contrary, say 50% of workers That the workload and working hours for equal pay have increased in recent years.” The goal is to be able to “have more free time and be more livable, taking into account that the retirement age has gone up and towards 70”.

These feelings are very much present in Italian workers. According to a study by human capital management solutions company ADP, 57.8% of Italians would favor a 4-day week. Of these, 43.8% would prefer to work more hours a day (10 hours instead of 8) to maintain the same pay, while 14% would also be willing to forgo part of the salary to limit the number of hours worked. By day 8.. There is also an astonishing percentage of Italians, 42.2%, who will leave things as they are.

In the pandemic period, strong concerns about the future of work have made free time a spendable resource: today, on average, the amount of free time per week in which some work is done is 9.2 hours per person, according to the ADP. Is. , an increase from 7.3 hours last year. But the situation also highlighted the problems of burnout and stress caused by overworking, as well as the benefits and possibilities of working flexibly from home. And the debate about reducing the working week has started again.

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Experiences made abroad have given good results. A study by the Anatomy think tank on the use of the short work week in Iceland – which reduced working hours in the public sector from 40 to 35 hours per week between 2017 and 2015, over four days and without pay cuts – found showed that workers were less stressed and less at risk of burnout, and without negative effects on productivity. A 2021 research by the Icelandic association ALDA (Association for Democracy and Sustainability) found that those workers also had “a powerful positive effect on work-life balance”: they could eventually spend more time with their children and Dedicated to his hobbies and passions. , And, in pairs, men were also more likely to do housework.

In April, the Scottish government announced a £10 million grant for the company’s short workweek trial. On the other hand, according to a survey conducted by the think-tank Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) on more than 2 thousand employees, for 80% of the interviewees, reduction of working days without pay cut is in favor of personal well being . .. and almost two out of three workers are convinced that this innovation can also be good for national productivity.

The Belgian government is also considering reducing the working week to four days, but the proposal has raised many doubts, as it seeks to increase working hours to nine and a half hours. In Spain, many companies have long introduced the shortened week. The latest is Desi, who opted for a four-day week with reduced pay. But it might be worth earning a little less if needed: a research This year, conducted by the WHO in collaboration with the International Labor Organization, found that working more than 55 hours a week is also bad for your health, with 35% risking a stroke and 17% dying from heart disease. developed.

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