Germany’s 4-Day Workweek Trial: Feb-Dec 2024
Work fewer hours for the same pay—this four-day workweek idea will be put to the test in a significant German project. Starting on Thursday, September 20th, interested businesses can apply to take part. Berlin-based management consulting firm Intraprenör, which announced the project on Monday, seeks to persuade at least 50 organisations to participate in it.
Four-day week for at least six months
- Enterprises in the trial aim for 100% performance at 80% of the time with full remuneration.
- The trial requires participating businesses to implement the four-day workweek for a minimum of six months.
- Throughout the project’s duration, companies have the opportunity to consult specialists, acquire new techniques, and engage in discussions with other participating firms.
- The University of Münster will conduct a six-month scientific evaluation of the project, set to commence later this year.
- Intraprenör collaborates on the project with the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global.
- 4 Day Week Global has successfully implemented similar projects in various other countries.
- The success of these initiatives has generated increased interest from businesses in the UK to adopt the four-day workweek model.
What exactly is a four-day week?
- The pilot experiment centres on a four-day workweek with reduced working hours while maintaining the same wage and performance targets.
- Some models suggest that shorter workweeks could lead to lower compensation.
- Smaller businesses are exploring a concept where employees work more on four days and compensate for it with a day off on the fifth day.
- The primary focus in Germany is on the first option, working fewer hours for the same pay, and it aligns with the request from the German iron and steel industry union, IG Metall.
- Proponents argue that employees working four days a week are more focused, motivated, and efficient in achieving their objectives within the designated time frame.
A survey reveals strong support for a four-day workweek
- A recent Hans Böckler Foundation survey, close to trade unions, found strong worker support for the four-day workweek with equal pay for reduced hours.
- 73 per cent preferred a four-day workweek with fewer hours.
- 17 per cent opposed it, and around 8 per cent were open to it with reduced pay.
- The top reasons for wanting a shorter workweek were “more personal time” (96.5 per cent) and “more family time” (89 per cent).
- Among those against it, 86 per cent still appreciated their jobs.
- About 82 per cent believed changing their work schedule wouldn’t impact their work, while roughly 77 per cent thought they couldn’t do their job under these conditions.
After a project in the UK, the employer gave great approval
- Following the four-day workweek project in Great Britain, a majority of participating companies reported positive outcomes.
- 56 out of 61 employers expressed a desire to continue the four-day workweek.
- Sick leave was reduced significantly by 65 per cent during the trial, and employee turnover decreased by more than half (57 per cent).
- On average, participating companies experienced a 1.4 per cent increase in turnover during the testing period.
- The analysis was carried out by researchers from Boston and Cambridge who conducted in-depth interviews with participants.
- It’s important to note that the results are based on voluntary participation, and there was no random selection. Companies from various sectors, including finance, IT, construction, hospitality, and healthcare, took part in the UK project.
In conclusion, Germany’s 4-Day Workweek Trial in Great Britain yielded overwhelmingly positive feedback from participating companies, with a significant reduction in sick days, lowered employee turnover, and increased turnover for many. However, it’s important to note that these findings are based on voluntary participation and may not be universally applicable.
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