Germany set to launch its largest-ever 4-day week trial
In 2022, the UK took part in the world’s largest four-day week pilot project. Now it's Germany’s turn. From September 21, 2023, companies in the federal republic can apply to take part in the six-month pilot.
Germany to pilot a reduced work week model
Germany is set to begin its largest ever four-day working week pilot project, organised by business consultancy company, Intraprenör and 4 Day Week Global.
From September 21, 2023 companies in Germany can sign up to take part in the trial, which will last from February to December 2024. The trial will be similar to that which took place in the UK in 2022, where 61 companies reduced their working hours to four days per week but maintained productivity levels and paid employees the same wage as during a five-day week.
Companies that sign up to take part in the German trial will do a planning and onboarding phase two months before the trial begins, during which they will be given guidance on how to organise tasks and methods of communication to best facilitate the shorter working week.
In phase two, the companies will adopt the four-day week. Over the six-month period, employees working at the companies will regularly answer questionnaires about how the reduced hours are affecting their productivity and work-life balance. The results of these questionnaires will be analysed by a research team at the University of Münster.
What did the UK four-day week trial find?
From June to December 2022, 2.900 workers in the UK took part in the world’s largest four-day week trial to date. As is the plan with the upcoming German trial, the reduced timetable was adopted by companies in diverse sectors and of differing sizes.
The trial was named a “resounding success”, with 56 of the 61 participating companies deciding to continue using the four-day week model after the pilot period was over, 18 of these companies said that the new policy was a permanent change.
The pilot found that 39 percent of employees were less stressed and 71 percent had reduced levels of burnout, an outcome which could be of great benefit to German companies since the country has recently seen a sharp increase in the number of German workers on sick leave due to stress.
While the Intrapenör and 4 Day Week Global pilot will be the biggest of its kind to be undertaken in Germany, there are already a number of other projects in the works which are looking into how a reduced working week could benefit the population. In Berlin, Labour Minister Cansel Kiziltepe has announced that she plans to launch a pilot project to trial a four-day workweek for public administrative staff in the German city. Meanwhile, Europe’s largest industrial union, IG Metall, is currently in negotiations to introduce a four-day week for all metalworkers in Germany.
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