Shortening of the workweek in the public market

Most collective agreements signed in the public sector in winter 2019-2020 contain a provision for changes to be made to the organisation of the working hours and for shortening of the workweek up to 36 hours a week.

The shortening shall be implemented on 1 January 2021.

The main goal of the changes is to support the reform in the operation of public institutions, improvement of the workplace culture and increase the opportunity of staff to integrate work and private life, without the need to lower the quality and efficiency of provided services.

Main aspects:

  • All workers shall get at least 65 minutes shortening a week (13 minutes a day)
  • The shortening can be a maximum of 4 hours a week
  • If the week is shorter by 4 hours, the workers lose control over their coffee breaks, but can take breaks when it is possible
  • A working group which reflects the entire group of employees including the supervisors, should work on the implementation of the shortening at each workplace
  • The shortening shall be a democratic decision in which all workers vote on the implementation prepared by the working group
  • If it is not possible to shorten the workweek by more than 65 minutes, it should be notified to the appropriate authorities and unions
  • Subsequently an implementation group will convene to assist the workers and the management of institutions in order to agree on mutual benefits of the changed organisation of the working hours
  • The salary shall not be lowered due to the shortening of the workweek
  • The shortening is to take effect on 1 January 2021.

A calculator, to compare shift plans before and after the shortening of the workweek, is available here.

On you can find further information, educational materials and Q&A regarding the implementation of a shorter workweek.