Greece adopts six-day work week to boost productiveness. Experts have doubts.

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While the four-day workweek has picked up steam in lots of European nations 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 aim of boosting productiveness. Workers have the choice to work up to 48 hours a week, and people who work the additional day will get a 40 p.c bump in time beyond regulation pay.

The information bucks the development 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 help with labor shortages, guarantee staff receives a commission for time beyond regulation and handle tax evasion points because it relates to undeclared work. But employee advocates say that Greece’s new laws most likely gained’t produce the specified outcomes and as an alternative might trigger unintended penalties comparable to excessive turnover, burnout, sickness and even loss of life.

“It undoubtedly appears like a step within the improper route and shortsighted,” mentioned Malissa Clark, director of the University of Georgia’s Healthy Work Lab, which research work-life stability. “We know lengthy work hours are detrimental to worker well being.”

In the U.S., 77 p.c of staff consider a four-day, 40-hour workweek would have an especially or considerably optimistic impact on their well-being, in accordance to a current Gallup survey. U.S. firms that have piloted or adopted shortened workweeks say they have seen the advantages.

In many elements of Asia and different growing nations, a six-day work week is routine. But globally, extra nations are additionally slashing hours. France is among the many most up-to-date nations to pilot a four-day workweek, whereas Belgium turned the primary nation to formally approve the shortened week again in 2022. Other nations that have been experimenting with the four-day workweek embrace Iceland, Japan and South Africa.

But hurdles to the extensive 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 reveals rising hours really hurts productiveness slightly than boosts it, mentioned Brigid Schulte, director of the work-family justice program Better Life Lab at suppose tank New America. Instead, rising hours typically leads to staff making extra errors, being slower on duties, and affected by exhaustion, stress and sickness.

“The proof will likely be within the proof,” Schulte mentioned. “If rapidly Greece turns round its financial system, perhaps folks will take a re-assessment. But I don’t suppose that can occur.”

Schulte additionally mentioned insurance policies like this typically damage 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 guarantee staff don’t exceed 48 hours per week on common, together with time beyond regulation. 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 tough to flip [the pay] down,” she mentioned. “Also what are the norms and expectations going to be within the group?”

While Greece goes towards the grain and adoption of the shorter workweek has been sluggish, Schulte and Clark say future developments most likely point out fewer working hours versus extra. Companies will proceed studying how 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 best for enterprise, folks and the financial system, when you do it proper.”

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



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