The public initiative portal Manabalss.lv collects signatures on the intention to attend a four-day work week. Most of the people surveyed by Jauns.lv on the streets of Riga support such an idea, however, there are also people who worry that when they reduce the number of working days, their income will also decrease.
Supporters are convinced that reducing the work week would make people work faster and harder, because they would feel more motivated to participate in the three holidays. A long vacation would give you the opportunity to spend more time with your loved ones or dedicate it to your hobbies and leisure. Madara, for example, believes that now only Saturday can be considered a real holiday. It’s hard to enjoy Sunday because the thoughts return to work.
Skeptics, meanwhile, fearing fewer work days will mean less money in their wallets. Mars, who addresses Jauns.lv, believes that such a change would affect the ability of many people to pay for electricity and utilities, as tariffs will only increase.
For initiatives published on the portal “Manabalss.lv” to be submitted to Saeima for consideration in mid-May, at least 10,000 signatures must be collected. So far, more than 9,000 people have signed up. The representative of the initiative Denis Meļehovs writes that by increasing free time, the level of employee satisfaction and creativity will increase, maintaining work efficiency. Although the Saeima has already rejected a similar proposal in autumn 2020, Meļehovs considers it necessary to keep this issue on the policy making agenda.
Meanwhile, the Latvian Chamber of Commerce and Industry recalls that currently the level of labor productivity in Latvia is about 70% of the EU average, so the organization does not support the plan to move to a four-day work week.
A shorter work week is a topic of discussion in many parts of Europe and the world, where companies participate in pilot programs to assess their benefits and harms. Four-day work week experiences were conducted by employers in Spain, Germany, Sweden, Finland and other countries. In Iceland, for example, 2,500 employers have tried the scheme, and found that this proportion of work and leisure increases productivity at work without the need for wage reductions. In the United Kingdom, on the other hand, the campaign concluded that moving to a four-day model could reduce the country’s carbon dioxide emissions by 21.3% annually.
Belgium has taken a big step towards a shorter work week. In February this year, the Belgian government approved a model that allows a large proportion of workers to choose between four or five days a week. However, this does not mean less work – the current number of five working days must simply be accommodated in four days, which also allows you to keep your current salary.
In the attached video, you will find out what Latvian thinks about the idea of working for four days and relaxing.
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