Service sector companies ‘keen to pilot’ 4-day working week
The government embarked on this "Agenda for Decent Work" in June last year...

Service sector companies ‘keen to pilot’ 4-day working week

Minister outlines plan 

The latest gimmick over ‘a 4-day working week’ is due to be piloted – after much discussion – in private firms in the services sector from June next year. 

Minister for Labour, Solidarity and Social Security Ana Mendes Godinho promoted the idea again yesterday saying “Companies increasingly need to position themselves as companies that value new ways of organising working time and that give their workers the space to be able to reconcile their personal and family life with their professional life.” 

She believes a four-day week “could be a way of attracting and retaining talent”. 

No public sector companies however are to be given the option to try this new work method just yet.

The way forwards is for private sector companies to try it out “on a voluntary basis” from June 2023; with the public sector following later … possibly.

Syndicates have said they would only agree to it on the basis that pay remained as if for five days, and hours were not increased, while CIP – the confederation of Portuguese Industries – has stated what many might say is the obvious: now is not the right time to be tinkering with this idea at all.

“At a time when we have a huge tsunami upon us, which floods all our concerns, to be discussing drought seems to us this is not the most opportune moment,” said António Saraiva, in a complicated sentence structure.

President of the Confederation of Trade and Services (CCP), João Vieira Lopes, thinks it “unlikely” that many companies will be interested in this plan, registering “dissatisfaction with the priority given to the issue” which seems to have been trailed by the government as a way of dodging questions still hanging over the ‘income agreement’ signed recently with social partners.

President of the Portuguese Confederation of Tourism (CTP), Francisco Calheiros, tells Lusa the whole thing is “inopportune”.

Tourism, for example,  “is not a sector that will benefit” as most companies work “seven days a week, 24 hours a day…” he said

Critics admit this issue really does seem to be more government ‘throwing sand in people’s eyes’… ‘pie-in-the-sky’ to keep attention from matters a great deal more pressing. After all, this is still a country where the majority of workers are on salaries that weren’t paying the bills even before inflation started rocketing.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com