|<< 4-Day Work Week: Complete Overview|
Individual companies are the ones leading the charge toward a four-day work week. Often, it’s the choice of the employer to offer a four-day work week as a benefit to its employees, to attract or retail talent, or help improve the work-life balance for its team. Mostly, this movement comes through the private sector.
But there is a push for the four-day work week in the public sector, too. In most scenarios, this means that a bill would be proposed and voted on to change the legal definition of a full-time worker from five days to four. In some cases, it’s a change proposed for the government workers themselves. In others, it is a proposal for all people working in the state.
Here are all of the countries that have announced that they’ll implement a four-day work week as a trial or permanently. You’ll see I included city, state, and county governments as well to give a full picture of the movement from the public sector. I’ll update the list every time a notable announcement comes out.
Which countries have tried four-day work week?
Here are all of the countries:
"The trials were conducted between 2015 and 2019, initiated by the Reykjavik City Council and the Icelandic national government.
"The country’s annual economic policy guidelines, released this month, unveiled plans to push employers to adopt four-day workweeks, marking official acceptance of a once-fringe approach..."
Proposed: September 1, 2021
"Scotland plans to launch a trial four-day workweek. The decision was the culmination of a campaign promise made by the ruling Scottish National Party. Workers will have their hours reduced by 20%, but won’t suffer any loss in compensation. The program will be funded by the SNP with a £10 million fund ($13.8 million U.S.)."
"So far, 20 companies have signed up to the six-month pilot, which will involve them trialing a reduction of working hours from February 2022."
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is moving federal employees to a four-and-a-half day work week to "boost productivity and improve work-life balance," the government announced Tuesday.
"The U.K. pilot of a four-day work week will begin in June with about 30 companies that have so far signed up for the trial. The six-month long program will see firms allowing staff to work 32 hours per week while leaving their compensation and benefits unchanged."
"Workers in Belgium will soon be able to choose a four-day week under a series of labour market reforms announced on Tuesday.
The reform package agreed by the country's multi-party coalition government will also give workers the right to turn off work devices and ignore work-related messages after hours without fear of reprisal."
Permanent (For Parents Only)
"Lithuania is the latest country to try out a four-day workweek, thanks to a policy passed by lawmakers yesterday (April 21).
In the table, you’ll see a few different classifications in the “policy” column. Some governments are trialing a four-day work week, while others have made it permanent. Some work 40 hours over four days, while others work 32 hours.
Here are some cities and states:
City Of Morgantown, WV (City)
For the next year a large majority of workers employed by the City of Morgantown will be working four days a week.
'Employees will work their 40 hours in four days or four 10-hour days,' she said."
Boulder County, CO (County)
"Six Boulder County offices and departments will begin shifting to a four-day work week beginning in 2021.
The move is part of the county's four-day work week pilot program that will analyze the productivity, public satisfaction and cost savings after the four-month trial concludes in April 2021."
"Progressives in Congress are lining up behind a bill that would shrink a regular week of work from 40 hours to 32 — bringing the four-day work week to America.
The Congressional Progressive Caucus just endorsed the aptly named "32-Hour Workweek Act," according to a statement from Rep. Mark Takano, the Democrat representing California's 41st district.
Iloilo, Philippines (City)
"We need to adjust because of rising costs of fuel. This will mean savings on electricity and less traffic. As an added value, this will also allow our officials and employees to have quality time with their families for three days — Friday, Saturday and Sunday," said Mayor Jerry Treñas. City Hall targets to open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Thursday, to cover the required 40-hour work week.
Keller, Texas (City)
"The Keller Town Hall, Municipal Service Center and the records department of the Keller Police Department will begin a trial of the “compressed work schedule” for employees beginning on May 28, according to a post by the City of Keller."
Our Definitions For 4-Day Work Week Country Policies
Here’s how we define the four-day work week policies you see in that column:
- Permanent: The country has four work days each week indefinitely.
- Trial: The country is experimenting with a four-day week over a fixed time period.
- 32, 36, 38, 40 Hours: Employees work these amount of hours each week spread over the four working days.
- 4.5 Day Week: The policy includes working a half-day on Friday (not fully a four-day work week).
- Recommendation: This is an officially released recommendation from the government to companies, but nothing is mandated.
- Non-Government: This is a movement across the country, but not sanctioned by the government.
- Bill: This is a proposal law that has yet to be voted on.
Which countries might come next?
Let’s call this our honorable mention section.
Below, you’ll see a list of countries where notable politicians have unofficially recommended or acknowledged that a four-day work week could be a benefit for the country. There are no official bills or laws in place, but these countries are the best candidates to turn up on our official list next.
- India has new labor laws they’ll vote on in 2022 that include a switch to a four-day, 48-hour work week (a compressed schedule, not reduced)
- The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, unofficially encouraged employers to consider a shorter work week in a Facebook video
- Sanna Marin, the Prime Minister of Finland, discussed on a panel how a four-day, 24-hour-work week could be the future
- The Ontario Liberal Party (Canada) says they’ll launch a test program if elected in June of 2022
- Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, called for the Welsh government to launch a shorter working week trial
- Feb 27, 2022: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka proposed to reduce the standard working week from five days to four.
- Mar 22, 2022: A state representative suggested that the State of Pennsylvania (USA) should consider a 4-day, 32-hour work week
- September 13, 2022: The Minister of State for Manpower for Thailand said that employers should consider flexible work arrangements including the four-day work week.
- September 25, 2022: A four-day work week bill was proposed in the United Kingdom. The bill will be discussed in the House of Commons on October 18, 2022.
In this post, we track every 4-day work week bill that is currently proposed or has already passed.
Which country is most well known for its four-day work week?
Iceland: Between 2015 and 2019, Iceland ran a well-publicized trial of a 35-36-hour work week sponsored by the federal government. The trials covered 66 workplaces and 2,500 workers in total. Its purpose, however, was to measure the impact in a reduction of work hours not to measure the effectiveness of a four-day work week. Participating companies had the option to choose a four-day work week and the press latched on. Although some companies did reduce working hours as a result of the trial, it was by minutes (on average) not hours.
See Also: Every 4-Day Work Week Study
Looking for a 4-day work week job?
Take a look at Flexjobs, the world’s biggest job board dedicated to remote and flexible work. You’ll find dedicated filters to “flexible” and “alternative” schedules.
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