Working towards the four-day week

woman shopping and playing with child

Staff at the Spanish telecommunications operator Telefonica will be able to opt for a four-day week from this month (September), The so-called jornada semanal flexible bonificada (flexible working week with bonus) will be open to the group’s 18,000 employees

The scheme is the extension of a pilot project for some 150 workers launched in 2021, following talks with trade unions on responses to the coronavirus pandemic. The deal enables staff to work four days a week - or 32 hours - instead of 37.5 hours, on a voluntary basis. Although this entails a cut in wages, the company has committed to repay 20% of the sum deducted.

In Denmark, the HK Kommunal union is negotiating on a permanent four-day week for staff at the Odsherred municipality, building on an experimental scheme launched in 2019, with possible agreement on greater flexibility in terms of the weekly day off.

The commercial employees’ trade union (KASZ) in Hungary this summer launched an online petition for an afternoon’s rest on Sundays, with shops closing by midday.  KASZ chair Zoltán Karsai said that shorter opening hours would help to relieve the labour shortage in the retail sector, as well as reducing employees’ workload. And in the UK, the global 4-day week campaign has announced the launch of pilot projects involving over 3,300 workers in 70 companies.

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