A report analyzing the impact of the trial found that as of June 2021, some 170,200 union members of Iceland’s 196,700 labor force were now covered by shorter-term contracts.
This means that 86% of workers were now either on reduced-hour contracts or had “new mechanisms to allow them to negotiate shorter hours at their workplace,” according to the report released on Sunday by think-tank Autonomy et al. Association for Sustainability and Democracy (Alda) research organization in Iceland.
Iceland carried out two large-scale trials between 2015 and 2019, reducing work weeks to between 35 and 36 hours compared to 40 hours for many, with no cut in pay. The lawsuits, which ultimately included 2,500 workers, were initiated by the Icelandic capital city council of Reykjavik and the country’s national government.
The trials involved 9 to 5 normal workers, as well as non-standard work schedules, and took place in a variety of workplaces such as offices, daycares, social service providers and hospitals.
Following the lawsuit, Icelandic unions and their confederations secured permanent reductions in working hours for tens of thousands of members across the country.
Analysis of the results by Autonomy and Alda revealed that a reduction in working hours maintained or increased productivity.
Will Stronge, research director at Autonomy, said the study showed that “the world’s largest trial of a shorter workweek in the public sector was by all accounts a resounding success.”
“This shows that the public sector is ripe to pioneer shorter workweeks – and lessons can be learned for other governments,” he said.
Data was collected throughout the trials, measuring indicators such as well-being, performance and work-life balance.
The results indicated an improvement in the well-being and work-life balance of workers, as people found it easier to do housework and take more time for themselves, for example. The report also noted that the men took on more responsibilities at home after the trial began, which helped reduce stress at home.
Autonomy and Alda said in their report that “the ability to build on evidence from existing ‘four-day week’ trials or similar programs will become increasingly important to workers, organizations and politicians. Support “.
Indeed, Spain is set to test a four-day week, while other countries like Japan, New Zealand and Finland have also expressed interest in the concept.
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