Greece adopts six-day workweek, bucking trend of fewer hours

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While the four-day workweek has picked up steam in lots of European international locations and even at some U.S. firms, Greece goes in the other way.

The nation’s new laws, which took impact this week, launched a six-day workweek for companies that function 24 hours with the objective of boosting productiveness. Workers have the choice to work as much as 48 hours every week, and people who work the additional day will get a 40 % bump in extra time pay.

The information bucks the trend of shortening the workweek to 4 days, which analysis has proven advantages productiveness and worker well-being and satisfaction. Greece’s authorities suggests the transfer will support with labor shortages, guarantee staff receives a commission for extra time and handle tax evasion points because it pertains to undeclared work. But employee advocates say that Greece’s new laws most likely gained’t produce the specified outcomes and as a substitute might trigger unintended penalties resembling excessive turnover, burnout, sickness and even loss of life.

“It definitely feels like a step in the wrong direction and shortsighted,” mentioned Malissa Clark, director of the University of Georgia’s Healthy Work Lab, which research work-life stability. “We know long work hours are detrimental to employee health.”

In the U.S., 77 % of staff imagine a four-day, 40-hour workweek would have an especially or considerably constructive impact on their well-being, in response to a latest Gallup survey. U.S. firms which have piloted or adopted shortened workweeks say they’ve seen the advantages.

Globally, extra international locations are additionally taking a look at slashing hours. France is among the many most up-to-date international locations to pilot a four-day workweek, whereas Belgium grew to become the primary nation to formally approve the shortened week again in 2022. Other international locations which have been experimenting with the four-day workweek embrace Iceland, Japan and South Africa.

But hurdles to the broad adoption of the shorter week persist as many fear about staffing points, potential productiveness drops, elevated prices and sophisticated modifications to operations.

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Greece’s transfer goes towards a lot analysis that exhibits growing hours truly hurts productiveness reasonably than boosts it, mentioned Brigid Schulte, director of the work-family justice program Better Life Lab at suppose tank New America. Instead, growing hours usually results in staff making extra errors, being slower on duties, and affected by exhaustion, stress and sickness.

“The proof will be in the evidence,” Schulte mentioned. “If all of a sudden Greece turns around its economy, maybe people will take a second look. But I don’t think that will happen.”

Schulte additionally mentioned insurance policies like this usually harm caregivers and girls, which then lowers worker and management variety and will increase the gender pay hole.

Greece’s laws opens the door to permitting folks to work a 48-hour workweek however doesn’t require it. And European Union legal guidelines require employers to make sure staff don’t exceed 48 hours per week on common, together with extra time. But Clark says Greece’s laws solely creates the notion of alternative as a result of the rise in pay incentivizes folks to work longer.

“You’re making it difficult to turn [the pay] down,” she mentioned. “Also what are the norms and expectations going to be in the organization?”

While Greece goes towards the grain and adoption of the shorter workweek has been gradual, Schulte and Clark say future tendencies most likely point out fewer working hours versus extra. Companies will proceed studying the best way to make their processes extra environment friendly, leverage tech and uncover the advantages to staff and earnings, they predict.

“It’s like an organizational excellence mission in disguise,” Schulte mentioned. “Shorter work hours is better for business, people and the economy, if you do it right.”

What do you suppose the workweek ought to appear like? Let me know at danielle.abril@washpost.com.



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