Belgium has just approved a four-day working week. This is bad news for workers

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The Government of Belgium has reached an agreement with the different regions of the country to undertake the reform of the law that regulates its labor market, According to De Standard. Among the different novelties that have been introduced in the new text, the four-day working week stands out, a model that is sounding strongly in many parts of the world, including Spain. However, this Belgian four-day shift comes with a catch, because it doesn’t mean working less, but putting in more hours on fewer days.

Work less to produce the same. The principles of the four-day work week establish that the effective application of this model must entail a reduction in the hours worked without a reduction in salary or a reduction in the company’s productivity. The defenders of this new working day argue that the reduction in working time makes employees less tired, which benefits their performance and makes them perform more in less time.

Whether this is really the case or not, the truth is that under no circumstances can a four-day work week be considered if you work ten hours a day from Monday to Thursday to take Friday off. Nor can a four-day work week be considered if the salary of the employees is reduced for working less time. Therefore, concentrating more hours in fewer days is the complete opposite of what the defenders of this model intend.

What Belgium really proposes. Although the reform contemplates the possibility of concentrating the working day in four days, in reality this option is part of a broader measure that aims to give workers more flexibility to set their working hours. But the day is not reduced. Thus, Belgians can also choose to work more one week to rest one day the next, but in the global calculation they must add 40 hours per week.

The four-day shift, a new battlefield: many workers do not want a pay cut, most companies see it as unfeasible to keep them

Bad for your health. Beyond the fact that the measure contemplated by Belgium’s labor reform cannot be considered a four-day working week, Belgians should be careful if they intend to work more from Monday to Thursday to free Friday, since there are various studies that advise against it. . Many of these investigations indicate that the optimal number of hours to work daily is seven or eight, although there are others that reduce that number considerably..

What they all agree on is that exceeding the limit of eight hours of work a day is dangerous for health, since it increases the risk of having cardiovascular problemsfrom overweight or of mental health. A threat that increases considerably if the professional exceeds 10 hours of work a day.

Photo | Yannis Papanastasopoulos

The Government of Belgium has reached an agreement with the different regions of the country to undertake the reform of…

The Government of Belgium has reached an agreement with the different regions of the country to undertake the reform of…

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