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Six-hour day not welcomed by all

Published fredag 30 januari 2015 kl 15.03
"Some are worried they'll have to do eight hours' work in six hours"
(2:38 min)
Sex timmars arbetsdag testas på ett äldreboende i Göteborg Foto: (arkivbild)
An old age home like this will be the scene of an experiment with shorter working days. Photo: Archive

Next week people will be working less in one old-age home in Gothenburg; but some staff worry it will mean more, not less, stress.

The centre-left council in the western city of Gothenburg think it could be a way to have healthier and happier staff.

They'll offer shorter days, for the same pay. But will a six hour day make everyone happy?

Union representative Helen Ericsson says it's not certain the project will have its desired effect, as about half the people would rather have a shorter week instead. And there are also worries eight-hours-worth of work will be expected in six hours.

Another benefit the council is looking for is helping more qualified staff into work. To cover all the hours that are not being worked, they've hired 20 extra staff.

So I asked one of the councillors behind the scheme, how much will all this cost?

Daniel Bernmar, from the Left party, which is part of the ruling red-green coalition in Gothenburg, says they have set aside roughly SEK six million, but they don't know how much it will cost in the end.

And despite the attention focussed on this project in the old-age home, it may never even take off and affect many people in Sweden at all.

Daniel Bernmar says "this may not scale up" even for the whole city council's staff. But he says what is important is they have researchers following the experiment, and they will be able to show the national government what works.

Meanwhile the centre-right opposition in Gothenburg says this is just playing with taxpayer's money, and it's not the best way to achieve a better service or working environment.

Reporter: Loukas Christodoulou

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