Sweden's six-hour workday experiment continues

Council staff in the city of Gothenburg, western Sweden, will trial the six-hour workday.


(Getty) Source: Getty Images

Council staff in the city of Gothenburg in western Sweden will trial the six-hour workday. The workplace experiment aims to reduce sick leave, creative productivity and more jobs, and save the country money in the long term.

Mats Pilhem, the Left Party deputy mayor of Gothenburg is a keen advocate of the model.

"We think it's time to give this a real shot in Sweden," he said.

Mr Pilhem added that the trial will be tested on two municipal departments acting as a test group and a control group. One group will work a standard 40-hour week while the other will be cut down to a six-hour day or 30-hour week with staff in both groups being paid the same amount.
"We'll compare the two afterwards and see how they differ," he told The Local Sweden.

Mr Pilhem referred to a Gothenburg car factory that recently tested a six-hour workday with positive results. He believes inefficiently in the workplace is created by longer shifts, particularly relevant in the elderly care sector.

"We hope to get the staff members taking fewer sick days and feeling better mentally and physically after they've worked shorter days," he said.
However, Mr Pilhem has been criticised by the opposition with Moderate leader Maria Rydén calling the plan a "dishonest and populist ploy" initiated because of the coming elections.

Mr Pilhem insists the plan has been in the making for some time.
"We've worked a long time on this, we've not planned it to be an election thing," he said. "These people are always against shortening hours."
Several parts of Sweden, including Kiruna, have been experimenting with the shorter workday model since 1990, although so far it has not been widely implemented.

Recent OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development) data suggests shorter working hours equals greater productivity.

2 min read
Published 10 April 2014 at 10:28am
Source: SBS