2021.07.21 12:37

Lithuania's social democrats propose ‘national experiment’ of 4-day week

LRT.lt2021.07.21 12:37

With mounting evidence of the benefits of shorter working hours, Lithuania's social democrats are calling to start trials for a four-day week and longer holidays.

Social democratic MP Orinta Leiputė says that a successful experiment in Iceland has shown that a shorter working week improves productivity and public health.

“What stops the Lithuanian government from testing it? Let's start the experiment now,” Leiputė was quoted by the Elta news agency.

She mentioned recent comments by conservative Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, dismissing the idea of shortening working hours. “This shows that we have a political party in power that is hostile to the people,” according to Leiputė.

The Lithuanian Social Democratic Party (LSDP) currently has 13 MPs, the third biggest group in the Lithuanian parliament.

Read more: Less work, more life? Lithuania debates four-day working week

The campaign for shorter working hours, entitled #4d, will also push for longer paid holidays.

According to Leiputė, the annual paid leave enjoyed by Lithuanians is among the shortest in the EU, 20 days, while Scandinavians are used to 6–8 weeks of holidays a year.

Iceland conducted trials of a four-day week in 2015–2019 and said it was an “overwhelming success”, with workers reporting less stress and better work-life balance.

The Lithuanian Confederation of Trade Unions (LPSK) has also suggested starting a debate about cutting the working day to six hours.

“Keeping the same pay, but cutting working hours, would benefit many more people than we're being told by the profit-seeking big business and their mouthpiece thinktanks,” LPSK president Inga Ruginienė said last year.

According to her, it would cut unemployment, improve productivity and boost people's purchasing power, which would translate into economic growth.

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