Four-day work week in Poland? Expert on employees with “the greatest opportunities”

A four-day week at work in Poland is possible, but not in all industries, according to Professor Jacek Męcina, advisor to the board of directors of Lewiatan. "The introduction, in the perspective of a decade, of a four-day work week, is most likely in the industries of modern services, consulting, in IT, finance, or insurance." - assessed the representative of the business organization.

Recently, the New Left put forward a proposal for a 35-hour workweek. Earlier, Civic Platform leader Donald Tusk also spoke about piloting a four-day work week. The Lewiatan Confederation noted that the debate on reducing working hours has been going on for a long time.

The organization noted that the Labor Code allows for a shortened work week. “There is even a shortened work week system, where work is provided 4 days a week with an extended daily working time system. Such a solution is also immediately applicable under the individual working time system and, in part, the task-based working time system,” – explained.

A four-day work week in Poland?

According to Prof. Jacek Męcina, advisor to the board of directors of Lewiatan and former deputy labor minister in the PO-PSL government, the introduction of a shortened workweek, such as to 32 hours, is not possible in all industries. “The greatest chances for a 4-day workweek are for employees working in modern service industries, consulting, in the financial, insurance or IT sectors. Here there are opportunities to shorten the work week while monitoring costs and productivity.” – Męcina pointed out.

The expert is skeptical about the possibility of shortening the workweek for the sphere of public services, especially health. “With a shortage of doctors, nurses and barriers to citizens’ access to health care, it is difficult to imagine such a regulation, as it will jeopardize the health security of citizens. This is perhaps the most difficult challenge. Also problematic today seems to be the implementation of a shortened work week in many industries, construction, trade.” – The Lewiatan representative added.

At the same time, the expert noted that the economic slowdown is taking its toll on these industries, as energy and material costs have risen. He noted that many companies are even considering downsizing and restructuring, so talking about the costs and risks of a shortened workweek “can only irritate them.”

“However, I believe that in the long run, technological transformation processes will make labor scarce and such solutions will also become real in industry and some services. In order to accelerate this process, the state can financially support investments in technological transformation and the introduction of a shortened workweek – under such conditions it seems possible,” – Jacek Męcina pointed out.

The Lewiatan Confederation is a Polish business organization that brings together, according to its website, more than 4,100 companies with more than 1 million employees.