Swedish Town Testing Full Pay for 30-Hour Week

Gothenburg is apparently the place to be
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 9, 2014 12:53 PM CDT
Who wants to work til 5?   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – If you could be anywhere in the world right now, Gothenburg, Sweden, may be the perfect place. That's because the town's government is initiating a pretty appealing sounding experiment: testing a 30-hour workweek, in which workers will be paid as if they're working full-time. The hope is that the six-hour days will bump up mental and physical well-being, increasing efficiency while reducing the number of sick days that are taken. The deputy mayor says the plan has been in the works for a while, though the opposition is dismissing it as a political ploy ahead of 2014 elections.

Regardless, it's going forward, with a somewhat scientific approach involving control and test groups. One unlucky department will stick with its regular schedule; the Independent reports by way of Sweden's Metro newspaper that the elderly care department will drop to 30 hours per week for a year, then the results will be compared. The Local reports that the mayor says a car factory in town recently tried the six-hour day, with positive results. But the Local in 2005 reported on another town, Kiruna, whose municipal employees logged six-hour days for 16 years before it gave up the approach in the absence of clear health or productivity benefits.

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