From Iceland — Management Wrong On Icelanders' Working Hours

Management Wrong On Icelanders’ Working Hours

Published October 20, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Grapevine Archives / Creative Commons

A representative of management who contended that Icelanders do not need to work fewer hours has been corrected by the director of the Association for Sustainability and Democracy (ALDA).

As reported, Þorsteinn Víglundsson, the director of Business Iceland (SA), recently dismissed a bill that was recently submitted to parliament on the subject of the definition of “full time work”. The bill proposes that the definition be changed from 40 hours per week to 35.

Þorsteinn, in an interview with Stöð 2, told reporters that the concerns raised in the bill were unrealistic, saying that Icelanders work on average about 37 hours per week as it is. He further maintained that, when days off and vacations are accounted for, Icelanders work fewer hours than most European people.

This has been met with some harsh criticism from Guðmundur D. Haraldsson, the director of ALDA. In a blog post he wrote for DV, Guðmundur points to actual data which contradicts Þorsteinn’s claims.

Guðmundur argues that, according to OECD data, Icelanders actually work seven more hours per week than the Dutch; six more hours per week than the Norwegians, Danes and Germans; and five more hours per week than the French. Furthermore, Iceland has lower productivity than Denmark, Spain, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Norway – all of which have shorter work weeks.

The bill on shortening the work week has yet to be given a final vote.

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