From Iceland — Business Alliance SA Opposes Shorter Workweek

Business Alliance SA Opposes Shorter Workweek

Published October 18, 2014

Pirates and Coalition propose reduction from 40 to 35 hours

Pirates and Coalition propose reduction from 40 to 35 hours

Alþingi members from the Pirate party and the Social-democratic Alliance, have proposed a change to the Law on working hours, reducing the standard workweek from 40 to 35 working hours. This would shorten each standard workday by one hour.

In the exposition attached to the proposal, the MPs argue cite OECD reports showing that workers in Iceland work relatively long days but somewhat erratically: Iceland, with an average 40-hour workweek, measures low on balancing work and leisure, and compares as the 27th of 36 countries listed. At the same time, total working hours in a year are below the OECD average. This is ascribed to comparatively extensive summer vacations. Last but not least, the exposition cites productivity statistics. Productivity measures low in Iceland, lower than in Denmark, Spain, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Norway, all of which have a shorter workweek. The exposition concludes that shorter working hours would both lead to a higher quality of life and increased productivity.

The confederacy of Icelandic corporations, known as SA, has expressed its opposition to these ideas. Interviewed by Stöð 2, SA Manager Þorsteinn Víglundsson claims that currently, the Icelandic workforce serves only 37 “active working-hours” in a week. He says that lowering taxes on businesses would be a much more important measure to increase productivity.

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