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Sweden Six-Hour Work Day Program Scrapped Due to Too-High Costs

Image: Sweden Six-Hour Work Day Program Scrapped Due to Too-High Costs

Sweden has ended a six-hour work day pilot program because costs were too high. (Lisa F. Young/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 05 Jan 2017 03:38 PM

A Swedish pilot program to reduce work days from eight hours to six hours has been ended because it was too costly, even though it reduced both sick days and unemployment.

The two-year trial cut work hours to six per day at Svartedalen nursing home in Gothenburg without decreasing salaries. The nurses reported feeling healthier and took fewer sick days, and patient care also improved.

The initiative reduced hours for the 68 nurses on staff at the home, but 17 more nurses had to be hired at a cost of 12 million kronor, which is about $1.3 million.

“It’s associated with higher costs, absolutely,” said local politician Daniel Bernmar,  Bloomberg reported. Bernmar runs Gothenburg’s elderly care. “It’s far too expensive to carry out a general shortening of working hours within a reasonable time frame,” he added.

Despite these comments, Bernmar said he still believes shorter working hours have benefits.

“The richer we become, the more we need to take advantage of that wealth in other ways than through a newer car or higher consumption,” Bernmar said, according to Bloomberg.

Some theories say shortening working hours could help workers have a longer working life.

Costs did go down in other areas to help offset the cost of hiring extra staff, such as unemployment, which went down 4.7 million kronor over 18 months, according to Bloomberg. Reduced sick days would also reduce costs, although no figures were given on how much was saved there.

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A Swedish pilot program to reduce work days from eight hours to six hours has been ended because it was too costly, even though it reduced both sick days and unemployment.
sweden, six-hour, work, day, scrapped, costs
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2017-38-05
Thursday, 05 Jan 2017 03:38 PM
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