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A moment from the First International Four Day Week Summit in Valencia, Source: Four Day Week International Summit Facebook

Portugal sets sights on 4-day work week

Portugal sets sights on 4-day work week

Meanwhile, the First International Summit dedicated to this measure took place in Valencia

Last week, during debates on the state budget the Portuguese Parliament approved a proposal from the Livre political party to carry out a pilot project for the implementation of a 4-day working week in the country. The pilot programme will have the mission to study and analyze new models of work organization, which apart from the 4-day work week, will also look into hybrid formulas of in-office and remote working to provide greater flexibility.

With this measure, the Iberian country is joining the ranks of other European governments, which have initiated concrete steps towards providing a more meaningful work-life balance for their labour force.

Back in February, Belgium approved the implementation of a 4-day work week on a trial basis (though maintaining the 38 hours required). In March, the Spanish government announced an experimental run that is even more ambitious in scope with the idea of introducing a 32-hour week, while incentivizing companies with financial subsidies to make up for the resulting gap.

Work flexibility on focus in Valencia

Parallel to that, on 27-28 May, the First Four Day Week International Summit took place in the Spanish city of Valencia. It highlighted the regional government’s specific interest in serving as an advocate for the flexible working schedule approach.

Politicians, unions, experts and business leaders from around the world gathered to discuss experiences and views about the proposal to shorten the working week to four days or to thirty-two hours per week. The measure is especially popular with political parties from the left spectrum in the country. They support it with the argument that Spanish people tend to work the longest hours when compared to other Europeans yet that does not reflect higher productivity.

The event also served as a forum where the Spanish Labour Minister hinted at upcoming major reforms in the local labour legislation, which will be designed with the idea to bring greater flexibility to workers.

Furthermore, the proponents of the measure have argued that it will bring about environmental benefits, such as reduced workplace energy bills and lowered pollution due to fewer journeys to work.

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