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50 German companies start a pilot project four days a week

50 German companies start a pilot project four days a week

A comprehensive pilot project to introduce a four-day week will begin in Germany at the beginning of 2024. The German Liberation Network (RND) reported on Wednesday, citing Intraprenör, the consulting agency coordinating the project in Germany. So 50 companies from different sectors will test the working time model from February 1: for six months, they will reduce working hours from five to four days at the same salary.

This was followed by a scientific evaluation by the University of Münster, RND reported. The pilot study will be accompanied by the global initiative for 4 days a week. Accordingly, representatives of the IG Metall trade union, the employers’ association BDA and the Central Association for German Handicrafts participate in the advisory board.

Flexible working hours

“Flexible working hours are an important incentive for many companies when hiring skilled workers. This also includes the four-day workweek,” Christian Schalt, an advisory board member from the BDA employers’ association, told RND. A fixed four-day week with full pay compensation is not an option for the vast majority of companies.

“It will be an interesting question whether the reduction in working hours is accompanied by a significant increase in productivity,” he said. “Without this increase in productivity, the four-day week model will not be viable for businesses in the long term.”

Sophie Janicki, a board member of IG Metall who is also a member of the advisory board, told the press that the four-day work week has proven its value in many companies for securing jobs. “It increases the work-life balance of the employees, so it can also increase the attractiveness of companies.”

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The Central Association of German Handicrafts (ZDH) was more cautious: “Especially in small firms, it is questionable whether individual employees could easily be laid off permanently for odd days, with the already meager level of staffing.” RND.