From Iceland — Discussions Held In Parliament Over 30 Hour Working Week

Discussions Held In Parliament Over 30 Hour Working Week

Published April 28, 2021

Photo by
Art Bicnick

Talks are currently being held in Parliament over whether the full time working week should be 30 hours or not.

The Minister of Finance says that the estimated cost of shortening the working week of public shift workers is around ISK 4.2 billion.

This was stated in the Minister of Finance’s answer to a question from Bjarkey Olsen Gunnarsdóttir, Member of Parliament for the Left-Greens, about financing the shortening of the working week.

Bjarkey said that the Minister of Finance should continue to shorten the working week and then reduce it to 30 hours a week as it would benefit for staff and society as a whole.

Can’t just be shortened straight away

Bjarkey said that it would not be possible to shorten the working week of key professions, as in law enforcement and healthcare with organizational changes alone.

Care must be taken to ensure that the shortening of the working week extends to all employees. “It must not be the case that the increased quality of life resulting from these systemic changes will be divided into classes,” says Bjarkey.

Bjarkey asked the Minister if sufficient funding had been secured to shorten the working week of shift workers in the public sector and whether he had information on how many full-time positions need to be filled following organizational changes and what they are.

Worth it?

The Minister of Finance, Bjarni Benediktsson, says that the estimated cost of changing the working week will vary from institution to institution, depending on the nature of the operation, the current shift structure and the average employment ratio of employees.

The reduction in working hours can result in up to 780 full-time staffing gaps, which are expected to be filled mostly by changes in employment ratios as well as new hires.

Increased costs will be met through reforms, better utilization of resources or prioritization of funding within policy areas.

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