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Swedish city all set for six-hour workday trial

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Clocking in. File photo: Shutterstock
15:53 CEST+02:00
Officials finalized plans on Friday for the "Gothenburg guinea pigs" who will test out the six-hour workday, a move it's hoped will cut down on sick leave, boost efficiency, and ultimately save Sweden money.
Despite a slight hiccup in the plans, which saw a delay in launching the 30-hour work week, the Left Party announced on Friday that the six-hour workday will be launched in an elderly home in Gothenburg's Västra Hisingen.
 
The trial will kick off in the new year.
 
"We chose this place in particular because it's just the right size, there are 60 people working there, and there's another retirement home close by that we can use as a reference point," Mats Pilhem, Left Party deputy mayor of Gothenburg, told The Local. 
 
The workers will earn the same salary as their colleagues at the other home, who are essentially the control group.
 
"The staff are very glad about it. Those acting in the control group are less glad perhaps, but they're keen to know that the project might bring about a change for everyone," Pilhem explained.
 
As to why they chose a retirement home, Pilhem said that it was an intense environment where a strong difference could be noted.
 
"They work extremely hard there, and not many of them continue working until the age of 65. Staff are often sick, and it will be interesting to see if these numbers will be reduced. Lastly, shorter hours means an increase in staff, so hopefully we'll be getting some jobs to unemployed people to top it off."
 
Pilhem said in April that he hoped the move would create more jobs, as he had seen evidence that longer shifts entailed less efficiency.
 
The move was criticized by Gothenburg's Moderate Party for being "a populist ploy".

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The Left Party will launch a thorough investigation into the trial afterwards, and decide whether to push for the change to be introduced across the country.
 
News of the trial, meanwhile, has made international waves since the story broke in April.
 
"My phone hasn't stopped ringing since then," Pilhem told The Local. "It's been a breakthrough the world over."

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