Sweden introduces a SIX-HOUR working day in bid to reduce sick leave, boost efficiency and make staff happier
- Government staff in Swedish city of Gothenburg to take part in trial
- One department will work six hour days, while another will work seven
- Two will be compared to see if shorter days improve efficiency
Hundreds of Swedish workers are trialling a six-hour working day in the hopes that it will cut sick leave and save the country money.
In an experiment, workers in one government department in Gothenburg are to be put on to six-hour days on full pay, while workers in another department will work a standard seven-hour day.
Mats Pilhem, Left Party deputy mayor of Gothenburg, hopes the six-hour staff will take fewer sick days, and have better physical and mental health as a result.
Speaking to The Local, he said: ‘We think it’s time to give this a real shot in Sweden.
‘We’ll compare the two afterwards and see how they differ. We hope to get the staff members taking fewer sick days and feeling better mentally and physically after they’ve worked shorter days.’
He claimed that a car manufacturer in the city had trialled the six-hour day with promising results.
He added that in other sectors, such as social care, the problem was not a lack of employees but people working inefficiently over the course of a long shift.
However, opposition politicians blasted the move as a cheap trick to win favour ahead of elections, and said the policy had be trialled before with no success.
Another trial in on staff in one hospital department in Stockholm had to be abandoned after workers in other departments became resentful, and a third on childcare workers was scrapped because it drove up costs.
However, Pilhem dismissed the criticisms, saying: ‘We’ve worked a long time on this, we’ve not planned it to be an election thing. These people are always against shortening hours.’