Better work-life balance: German employers call for 39-hour week

Better work-life balance: German employers call for 39-hour week

Steffen Kampeter, head of Germany’s Employers’ Association, is encouraging workers in Germany to strike a better work-life balance - but not in the way one might expect.

German Employers’ Association encourages work-life balance

In a recent study of 2.900 workers, researchers found that when working one day less per week, people in Germany are more satisfied and company profits are increased. It's therefore unsurprising that, for many people working 40-hour weeks, the four-day working week is a dream they hope might come true in the not-too-distant future.

It will come as a positive surprise then, that the head of Germany’s Employers Association, Steffen Kampeter, is encouraging employees to achieve a better work-life balance. Kampeter insists though, that this can be achieved “while working 39 hours a week”. 

Kampeter wants workers to retire later

Kampeter’s main concern is Germany’s current and growing worker shortage, which in his eyes, could only get worse if working hours are cut down. “We need more enthusiasm for work,” the association leader told Table.Media.

The former CDU member of parliament also criticised Germany’s 2014 “Rente mit 63” policy, which meant insured people born before January 1, 1953 who had already worked for 45 years could retire when they turned 63. Kampeter called the policy a “blatant political failure” which had lost Germany valuable workers. In 2023 it is still possible to retire early if you have made pension contributions in Germany for at least 35 years, but the standard retirement age is 66 and will increase to 67 by 2031.

“We are going to have to work for longer,” said Kampeter. In 2023, 250.000 workers in Germany are set to take early retirement, a development which the association leader says will result in “losing many excellent employees in companies”.

Thumb image credit: ArtMediaWorx /

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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