There will not be one work model for all

By Sarah RaparoliMisch Pautsch Switch to German for original article

Isn't the 40-hour workweek long outdated? For which sectors does it make sense to reduce or implement flexible working hours? And can the recently introduced right to a four-day week in Belgium really be a good example for Luxembourg? Answers from the health, craft, economic and psychology sectors.

The world is in a deep crisis. It seems to be unable to find its way uphill on the eternal downhill slide. All the more people want more time to do what they want to do and not just what they have to do. Understandably and at the same time not a surprise that the phenomenon of quiet quitting has become very popular. This means that employees only do the work for which they are actually paid. This means: no overtime and no extra work that has not been specified in advance in the contract. The desire for a reduction in work or a flexible arrangement can have various reasons, but isn't it time to rethink the 40-hour work model anyway?

"No, I don't think we need to work 40 hours anymore", says Tina Koch, psychiatric nurse and general secretary of the nurses' association Anil. "In our sector we have a 38-hour week anyway and it works great. It doesn't sound like a big difference, but per month it adds up to whole additional day." According to an Anil study in collaboration with the University of Luxembourg, presented on October 20, in addition to work content, treatment by superiors or even work volume, the respondents' attitudes regarding current working hours were determined. "We have always wondered why so many people leave their jobs. The working hours are one reason among many."

Theoretical and practical

She does not see any profession in her industry where a reduction would not be possible "in theory". "Practically, of course, it is a different matter". So, regarding the acute staff shortage in the health sector, isn't it utopian to talk about reduced working hours? "I think that this shortage should not be a reason why we do not address other problems." She sees people who are tired, worn out and exhausted. "However, we cannot continue to push them to the limit just because we are short of Someone who is discouraged by working shifts, but who can be more flexible and work fewer hours, may still choose to work in this profession." Employees who suffer from physical problems after a certain age are also grateful for fewer working hours.

A big problem is the duty roster, which Koch says is generally handed out too late. "It is true that the roster is printed out a month before, but changes can still be made ten days before the new rostering. We don't have planning certainty and it's tiring." Asked about feedback from people working in the health care sector, Koch says: "They are not negative towards a reduction but remain sceptical. Some wonder how the work can still be done without additional staff if it's already hardly possible." Nevertheless, she is convinced that young people can be attracted to this work model. Tina Koch believes that the health and care sectors are not specifically addressed in the discussion just mentioned. "It amazes me because we already have a 38-hour week. Working less and in a flexible way is possible, also in the healthcare sector." So, a further reduction could be an option.

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