Four-day week ‘an overwhelming success’ in Iceland

Four-day week 'an overwhelming success' in Iceland
Source: GETTY IMAGES
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Daily US Times: Researchers have said, trials of a four-day week in Iceland were an “overwhelming success” and led to many workers moving to shorter hours.

The trials, in which workers were paid the same amount of money for shorter hours, took place between 2015 and 2019.

Researchers said that productivity remained the same or improved in the majority of workplaces.

A number of other trials are now being run across the world, including in New Zealand by Unilever and Spain.

In Iceland, the four-day week trials run by Reykjavík City Council and the national government eventually included more than 2,500 workers, which amounts to about 1% of the country’s working population.

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

The trials led unions to renegotiate working patterns, and now 86% of the country’s workforce have either moved to shorter hours for the same pay, or will gain the right to, the researchers said.

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

The Director of research at Autonomy, Will Stronge, said: “This study shows that the world’s largest ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success.”

He added: “It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks – and lessons can be learned for other governments.”

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