From Iceland — State and Municipal Employees To Get Shortened Work Week

State and Municipal Employees To Get Shortened Work Week

Published December 2, 2020

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Eyþór Árnason

The Federation of State and Municipal Employees (BSRB) will be giving its workers a shorter full time work week early next year, if an agreement on the matter is reached, RÚV reports. It will, however, mean that these workers will need to relinquish control of their meal and coffee breaks.

The proposals, which are still pending approval from union workers, would shorten the full time work week for salaried employees to 36 hours per week; for shift workers, it would shorten to 32 hours. If approved, the proposal for salaried workers would go into effect at the start of the new year, while shift workers would get their shortened week in the spring.

The plan is a long time in the making, with the City of Reykjavík and BSRB having experimented with the idea at select workplaces before, to positive results.

However, of note is the fact that part of these proposals outline that a condition for the shortened work week includes relinquishing control of food and coffee breaks. This will not mean that workers will no longer have such breaks, though; only that the times for them will need to be more flexible.

According to 2019 data from the OECD, Iceland has one of the longest average weekly full time work hours in the OECD, with an average of 42.7 hours per week for a full time Icelandic worker—only Mexico (48.4), Turkey (48) and Israel (44.3) have longer work weeks for full time workers in the OECD.

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