German Firms Test 4-Day Work Week to Boost Productivity

Photo by Ansgar Scheffold on Unsplash

Germany is gearing up to implement a four-day work week starting February 1, with more than 45 companies participating in a six-month trial.


This decision is prompted by various challenges, including inflation, recent worker protests, immigration issues, and a low birth rate leading to employee shortages. 


The imbalance has resulted in tensions between employers and employees, exemplified by a six-day strike by train drivers demanding a reduced work week from 38 to 35 hours without a wage cut.


Amid these challenges, Germany’s construction union, on January 28, called for a pay rise of over 20% for its 930,000 workers, further adding to the complexity of the country’s labor landscape.


The trial program will provide a weekly day off for employees while maintaining full pay. The objective is to assess whether a shorter work week not only improves employee well-being but also enhances productivity. The move aims to achieve a better work-life balance and address inflation concerns.


This project reflects a broader trend in the German labor market, where a shortage of skilled workers is compelling companies to address workforce challenges amid high inflation.


Additional Information:

  • 50% of German companies are facing challenges in filling job vacancies, as per a survey by an industry lobby in 2023.
  • In 2022, technology company SAP discontinued the requirement of a university degree for applicants.
  • Among the pilot programme participants is EuroLam’s factory, testing the four-day workweek, located in Wiegendorf, Germany.
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