A top German politician blasted the 4-day workweek, saying no society has ever increased prosperity 'by working less'


German finance minister Christian Lindner has expressed his disapproval of the concept of a four-day workweek with full pay, stating that it hinders prosperity. Lindner, who leads the pro-business Free Democratic Party in Germany, made these remarks at an event in Switzerland. He argued that no society has ever achieved increased prosperity by working less and emphasized that hard work remains the key to prosperity.

This is not the first time Lindner has criticized the idea of a four-day workweek. In a previous instance, he shared similar thoughts as reported by local German media earlier this year. The German finance ministry did not provide a response when contacted by Insider for comment.

Lindner's comments come amidst a global debate on shorter workweeks following the implementation of flexible work schedules during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a survey conducted by Germany's trade union-affiliated Hans-Böckler Foundation in May revealed that the majority of German workers, 73% of the 2,575 employees surveyed, support a four-day workweek only if their pay remains unchanged. Only 8% would accept lower wages, while 17% rejected the idea of a four-day workweek altogether.

Despite these reservations, Germany, as Europe's largest economy, is planning to trial a four-day workweek starting from February 1. Around 50 companies in the country will participate in this trial, according to German public broadcaster ZDF's report on August 30.

This follows the UK's experiment with a four-day workweek from June to December 2022, involving 3,300 workers at 70 UK firms. In this trial, employees reduced their weekly hours by 20% without experiencing a pay cut. Out of the 61 companies that took part, 56 expressed intentions to continue with the four-day workweek, and 18 planned to make it a permanent arrangement. During the trial, fewer employees resigned or took sick leave compared to the previous year, and businesses reported higher revenues when sharing sales figures. Additionally, around 70% of workers reported lower levels of burnout.

Experts, such as Kieran Woof from the Royal Society of Biology, have highlighted the benefits of a four-day workweek, stating that employees feel more energized and motivated when returning to work after a longer weekend. Overall, the debate on the four-day workweek continues, with various perspectives and trial programs being conducted worldwide.  

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