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Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin
Finland

In Finland does not reduce the working week to four days

Contrary to what you have read in the newspapers in the last few days: it was only an advanced idea before he took office

In recent days, several international newspapers have written that the new Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin – who is 34 years old, leads a center-left coalition and took office in December – has proposed to reduce the working week to four days, and the working day at six hours instead of eight, with the same salary. The idea of โ€‹โ€‹further reducing the time spent in work in western countries is not new and is legitimized by studies and experiments around the world , but in the case of Finland it will not be realized soon: the news, in fact, is false.

Marin had merely come up with the idea during a congress to celebrate the 120th anniversary of her party, the Social Democratic Party, held in mid-August (so several months before she became prime minister). On that occasion Marin had speculated that a four-day working week – or a six-hour working day – “could be the next step”, and that “people deserve to spend more time with their family, with loved ones, and to deal with other things like cultural activities. ” Marin had also tweeted , clarifying however that the two ideas – shortening the week or the working day – were an alternative to the other, and were not combined as some newspapers have hinted in recent days.

Since taking office, Marin has no longer spoken publicly about the idea nor has he officially proposed to implement it. There is no trace of the measure even in the coalition ‘s government program . Several government sources consulted by News Now Finland , a respected Finnish news site, have denied that the government will take care of it in the short term. News Now Finland  also reconstructed that the news circulated in newspapers across the world after it was relaunched by New Europe magazine on January 2 , in an article that contained several inaccuracies. The author of a Guardian article on the matter apologizedfor suggesting that the proposal really existed.

In many countries there has been some discussion about the opportunity to review working hours – a historic battle of leftist parties – but the political and union confrontation for now has not led to significant changes. Waiting for clearer indications or laws that modify the organization of work, some companies are experimenting with alternative solutions: the last one that was discussed in order of time was the Japanese division of Microsoft, which reducing the working week to four days got  recently a significant increase in productivity. In the United Kingdom, there has been talk for some time of the possibility of reducing the working week to four days, a proposal that finds the main unions and part of the Labor Party favorable, which has also commissioned one study  on this possibility.

However, the reduction in working hours brings with it some concerns, for example on the risk that the working days become much more intense and stressful to complete in a shorter time anyway a substantial amount of work. There may also be risks for employees, with companies that could use the excuse of shorter hours worked to significantly reduce wages.

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