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Sanna Marin (SDP), the Minister of Transport and Communications, says she would like to see a shorter work week become a reality in the near future. (Emmi Korhonen – Lehtikuva)

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SANNA MARIN (SDP), the Minister of Transport and Communications, made a bold working life-related proposal during a panel discussion held in conjunction with the 120th anniversary celebrations of the Social Democratic Party in Turku on Saturday.

Marin identified a considerably shorter work week as one of the objectives the party should incorporate into its agenda and pursue in the future.

“A four-day work week, a six-hour workday. Why couldn’t it be the next step? Is eight hours really the ultimate truth? I believe people deserve to spend more time with their families, loved ones, hobbies and other aspects of life, such as culture. This could be the next step for us in working life,” she stated.

She added at the beginning of her response that she hopes the proposal becomes a reality in the near future. Full-time employees typically work five days a week, eight hours a day in Finland.

The Left Alliance has previously proposed that a six-hour workday be trialled in Finland.

Marin’s proposal was shot down by members of the political opposition. Arto Satonen (NCP) reminded that the Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (Etla) has identified the working time extension as the most effective of the measures to promote competitiveness in recent years.

“Is the SDP living in the real world?” he asked.

Etla reported last week that the 24-hour increase in annual working time has accounted for 40 per cent of the employment impact of the still topical competitiveness pact. Adjusting working time, it explained, promotes employment and competitiveness when it either reduces labour costs or increases labour productivity.

“An eight-hour workday and a 40-hour work week have been good ideas since way back when,” Satonen told Aamulehti.

He reminded that people would not get by if their wages were reduced in accordance with the reduction in working time, meaning that the proposal would be feasibly only if wages stayed unchanged.

“But that’d raise employer costs so much that the cost of labour would become impossible,” he added.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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