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No major European country is yet planning to implement the 32-hour workweek

Madrid, February 19 (EFE). Belgium’s decision to allow a four-day workweek to be concentrated brings back the current controversy over reducing the working day to 32 hours a week, with none of the European countries having any legislation in place. Ongoing initiatives in this regard. The decision taken by the Belgian government does not mean a reduction in the working day, but rather includes a flexible schedule that allows to combine three days off a week if working hours are concentrated in four days or to accumulate more working hours in one week to get more time. Free the next day. In Greece, there is also the possibility of concentrating working time in four days for a year, provided that the obligatory 40 hours per week are met. France’s 35-hour workweek is the shortest, with no intention of reducing it to 32 hours in France, while there are pilot projects in the UK and Ireland as part of productivity studies. In Portugal, the four-day week was one of the election promises of the Socialist Party, which won the last parliamentary elections less than a month ago. In Spain, reducing the working day from 40 to 32 hours has been a union demand for years and at the political level, Mas Pais reached an agreement with the coalition government at the end of 2020 for a pilot scheme that has yet to be implemented. realized. A few companies are implementing it in Spain – mainly technology companies with highly qualified employees – while others have chosen to focus on time and some have offered to cut hours in exchange for salary cuts. France: The basic working week in France is 35 hours, although reducing it to four days a week is possible through a company agreement signed by unions, although it is far from receiving unanimous support. Labor Secretary Elizabeth Bourne highlighted this month that the executive branch is not in favor of generalization, although she advocates it as an individual choice for each business and not as something the authorities should enforce. Left candidates such as Jean-Luc Melenchon or Communist Fabien Roussel have proposed a 32-hour work week, while on the right the slogan “Work more to earn more” remains in effect. Greece’s parliament last year approved a labor reform that theoretically allows the week to be reduced to four days, but without cutting the mandatory forty hours. If the employer and the worker reach an agreement, it is possible to work ten hours a day, and either work one day less or take back the extra hours at another time. The bill also extended the annual overtime allowed, to about 150 compared to between 90 and 120 previously, depending on the sector. United Kingdom More than thirty British companies will start a six-month pilot program in June where their employees will work 32 hours a week spread over four shifts. The test is being promoted by the British branch of the international “4 Day Week” campaign, the Autonomy Research Center and researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, among others, who will try to check if employees can deliver close to 100% productivity using 80% of the time. In the wake of the pandemic, other British businesses have moved to work four days a week, after that programme. British law sets a maximum working day of 48 hours per week, which is calculated from the average number of hours worked over a 17-week period. Ireland In Ireland, about two dozen companies have joined the “4 Days of the Week” campaign to create a six-month weekly work system with reduced hours that does not imply a reduction in wages. Currently, the Irish government has no plans to concentrate the work week into four days by law, but some sectors, such as the National Health Service (HSE), are offering some professionals the possibility of splitting the mandatory 40 hours per week of work between Monday and Friday. Germany “In Germany, there are no plans to legally introduce a four-day week working system. Decisions on how to distribute working time are left by the constitution in the hands of companies and workers,” a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Labor told EFE. Job. In Bavaria (south of the country), companies are experimenting with the four-day working week, which has won praise from the metals association IG Metal, while employers are more skeptical due to the cost involved and the current shortage of specialized personnel in some areas. Portugal In Portugal, the four-day working week entered the public debate after the Socialist Party included it in its electoral platform – for certain sectors – for the January 30 legislative elections, which it won by an absolute majority. Until Antonio Costa forms the government and presents his programme, expected in April, it will not be known for certain whether and under what conditions he intends to move forward with this proposal. The country’s largest union, the General Commissariat of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), advocates that progress should be made with other types of measures such as a reduction to 35 hours a week, rather than the number of days, while employers consider that it is not the moment of this debate for of the Portuguese economy. Italy In Italy, where most employees work between 36 and 40 weeks, depending on the sector, spread over five days, there is also debate over whether four-day work weeks will increase productivity. One of its biggest supporters is the founder of the 5 Star Movement (M5S), Beppe Grillo, who has been advocating for years to reduce working hours while preserving wages, while few companies in Italy have actually opted for this model. (c) EFE . Agency

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