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Poland Considers Shortening the Working Week: Politicians Cite Workforce Exhaustion

Translated by Milo Dvorak

27. 5. 2024

Business Newsletter #37

Good morning,

Let's start the week off by briefly looking at Poland's debate on the introduction of a shorter working week.

Published by on 25 May 2024.

newsletter 37
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The Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Policy is currently evaluating two proposals to reduce the working week, Minister Agnieszka Dziemianowicz-Bonkova announced, as reported by TVN 24. The first proposal suggests shortening the working week to 35 hours while the second involves introducing Fridays off.

"It has been over 100 years since the introduction of the eight-hour working day, and nearly half a century since the adoption of Saturdays off. Much has changed since then, so perhaps the time to take another step forward or at least initiate a dialogue on this subject has come," the Minister stated. "My aspiration and plan are to reduce the working week. How exactly? That is currently being debated," she added.

According to the representative of the Left in Prime Minister Donald Tusk's government, Polish society is among the most overworked in Europe. She believes that a reduction in the working week would benefit both employees and employers. "It is a misconception that the more hours an employee spends at work, the better the results. Burnout, stress, and fatigue decrease productivity. A well-rested worker is more creative and motivated," she argued.

The Ministry is also considering solutions implemented in other countries, such as France and Germany. The results of these analyses are expected to be presented by the end of the year.

The Minister acknowledged that discussions with employees and employers alike indicate that it would be easier to implement a four-day working week while maintaining the eight-hour workday. "Perhaps Fridays off could be introduced gradually, very much like Saturdays were – starting with two Fridays per month, eventually progressing to all Fridays," she concluded.

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