Tomorrow, the tantalizing and contentious dream of a 30-hour workweek will become a reality in Sweden’s second-largest city of Gothenburg.
The year-long experiment will compare two factions of municipal workers -- a control group who will stick to a 40-hour workweek and a test group that will have their hours slashed. All salaries will remain the same.
The aim of the experiment is to determine whether reducing work hours might lead to increased productivity and fewer sick days. Initially brought forth by the city council’s majority coalition of Social Democrat and Green parties in April, the program officially kicks off tomorrow.
While Gothenburg’s deputy mayor, Mats Pilhem, noted that a local car factory had employed a similar model to great success, opponents in the city council have referred to the proposal as a “dishonest and populist ploy” that would bear no impact on worker quality.
A similar experiment involving 250 workers in the Swedish town of Kiruna was scrapped in 2005 after 16 years. With shrinking hours, job pressures intensified, reports The Local, and as a result, the city council concluded that sickness actually increased.