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  • Finish Prime Minister Sanna Marin at a press conference in Harpsund, Sweden, January 8, 2020.

    Finish Prime Minister Sanna Marin at a press conference in Harpsund, Sweden, January 8, 2020. | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 January 2020
Opinion

The Social Democratic leader seeks to reduce working ​hours so that people can enjoy other aspects of life.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin spoke in favor of reducing working days and working hours during the 120th-anniversary ceremony of the founding of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in Turku, Finland.

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“Four-day work week, six-hour day. Why couldn't this be the next step? Eight hours is the absolute truth?," the Finnish Prime Minister asked.

"I think people deserve to spend more time with their families, their loved ones, their hobbies and other aspects of life, such as culture.”

Sanna Marin, a 34-year-old woman who was sworn into office on Dec. 2019, is the world's youngest prime minister and heads a coalition of five center-left parties which are currently led by women.

In Finland, where most people work between five and eight hours a day, the leftist ruling coalition proposes to establish a trial period to verify the advantages or disadvantages of its idea.

PM Marin's suggestion has an antecedent in Sweden, a Nordic country where the six-hour workday was tested for two years.

In 2015, the city of Gothenburg reduced working hours to six hours a day for older workers and home-based workers. Their wages, however, were not reduced.

Two years after this policy was implemented, studies show that Swedish employees are now more productive, happier and healthier.

"Sweden has tried a six-hour workday and productivity improved. Microsoft recently announced a successful trial in Japan related to working only four days, John Brandon wrote in a recent INC article.

"Working harder over shorter periods is best because we do optimal work," he added.

With the reduction of working hours, Sweden's health services have expanded their coverage and patients are more satisfied.

At private companies, labor costs have remained constant, more employees have been hired, and more tax revenues have been generated.

In addition, illness-related lost working days have fallen and the unemployment rate has decreased.

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