Swedish City Cuts Work Hours to 6 Without Pay Reduction, France Makes Working After 6 PM Illegal
By Vittorio Hernandez | April 11, 2014 8:55 AM EST
Work-life balance was given a stronger boost in two European countries with changes to work hours that would surely be the envy of many overworked and underpaid employees around the world who often neglect family life or personal pursuits because of too much time spent on the job.
Labourers work at a construction site in Shanghai, January 16, 2014.
Gothenburg, a Swedish city, would allow some of its public sector employees to work only for 6 hours a day instead of the standard 7 hours. However, they would not get pay cuts despite the lesser working hours.
However, the scheme is still on the pilot test stage with one group working only 6 hours and another group 7 hours. At the end of the experiment, their performance would be compared and evaluated.
Other jurisdictions have experimented in the past with work hours reduction such as a city in Utah that allowed public sector workers three days weekend.
An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study found that while Greeks work over 2,000 hours a year and Germans only 1,400, Greek employees are 70 per cent less productive compared to German workers.
Anna Coote, head of social policy at the British think tank New Economics Foundation, lauds the proposal by the Swedish city. She said, quoted by The Telegraph, "Shorter working hours create a more committed and stable workforce ... There are indications you can make savings by reducing working hours."
In France, a new labour agreement allows employees to ignore work emails when it is beyond regular office hours or 6 pm. The deal includes phone calls and text messages on their smartphones.
French workers are expected to work 35 hours a week, based on a law introduced in 1999. With the new legally binding labour deal, employees are ordered to switch off their mobile phones after 6 pm.
The agreement, which would affect about one million workers in the technology and consultancy sectors, including the French offices of Google, Facebook, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, would likely make obsolete the word "overtime" from the French vocabulary.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- Flight MH17 Attack: Russians Claim 'Putin A Terrorist,' Memorial at Dutch Embassy Overflows [PHOTOS]
- Typhoon Rammasun Claims 18 Lives in China, Incurs $4.32B Losses (PHOTOS)
- Ellen DeGeneres Caught Cheating with Mutual Friend Before Portia de Rossi’s Rehab – Reports [PHOTOS]
- Malaysia Airlines MH17: Vital Black Boxes Finally Land in Hands of Malaysian Authorities, Rebels Announce Ceasefire (PHOTOS/VIDEOS)
Join the Conversation
- California Fruits Recalled in USA and Canada for Possible Listeria Contamination
- Malaysian Airlines Flight 17: Air Carrier Losing $1.6 Million/Day; Crisis Management Experts Suggest Hiring Risk Expert as CEO
- The IBM and Apple Merger: Will it Spell Trouble to Rival Companies
- CBA, NAB, Westpac in Fixed Rate War Offering Below 5% Interest
- Radio Australia Cuts to Affect Isolated Vanuatu Residents Who Rely on It for Weather Bulletins
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4 Apps Leak Online, Five Fresh Features to Expect from the Android Smartphone
- Moto 360 Price Speculations, Key Features, Strategic Release Date, Design: A Watch That is More Than Just Time
- Windows Phone 8.1 Update Rollout: 20 Nokia Lumia Phones Eligible and 13 New Features to be Added
- Three New Moto G Successors Spotted in FCC Document Dubbed Moto G2, Moto M and More --Reports
- iPad Air 2 Release Date Will Skip IGZO Panel; To Rollout with Super-Slim iPad Mini Air
- HTC Google Nexus 8 Release Date Imminent with New Nexus 7 Deals, Two New Tablets Soon
- Upcoming iPad Mini 3 Could be 30% Thinner and Likely be Called iPad Mini Air; Apple Q3 Results Show 9% Decrease in iPad Sales