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Portugal to test four-day working week

June 6, 2022

The Portuguese government approved last week the Dignified Work Agenda, which foresees a pilot program to test the four-day work week, but only for application in the private sector. The Minister of Labor said that the experiments want to ensure that the reduced workload is not used by companies as a “lay-off.” 

Included in the Dignified Work Agenda, approved yesterday by the Council of Ministers, the proposal will enter the study phase and will be voluntarily tested by the private sector in a pilot project. The alternative will also be under consideration to work in public administration.

The proposal suggests that “the government promote the study and construction of a pilot program to analyze and test new models of work organization, including the four-day week in different sectors and the use of hybrid models of face-to-face work and telework. And he anticipates that the study will move forward this year.

The Dignified Work Agenda is a set of 70 legislative measures that establishes alternatives and clarifies rules on the organization of work models. The document does not yet have the general consensus of the government’s social partners.

Trade union forces do not disapprove of the four-day week and are open to debate, provided that the measure does not increase the workload and promote layoffs or wage reductions by cutting a day’s work. The goal will be that the four-day week does not become, when applied, a disguised form of “lay-off,” a mechanism that companies in difficulties can resort to by reducing working hours and consequently cutting wages. 

Source: CNN Portugal