Business

Radical Workplace Changes Being Tested In Parts Of Europe

6-Hour Days In Sweden? No Checking Email After 6 p.m. In France Gain Notice Here

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Imagine working only six hours a day, but getting paid the same as you would for working eight. It may happen … in Sweden.

Would the northern European nation’s proposal for a 30-hour work week fly in the United States?

Would any of the following?

* In France, they’ve banned checking work email outside the normal business day to ensure their 35-hour work week is preserved.

* In Austria, the absolute minimum number of paid days off is 35, including 22 vacation days and 13 holidays.

* And in Albania, maternity leave lasts an entire year.

As for that six-hour work day, for most it would be a dream come true.

“Sign me up, definitely,” said Vlad Ashurov of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, who added when asked if it could ever happen in the U.S., “Never, unfortunately not. We’re a society of get paid less and work more.”

“I would take from 11 to 4, but that’s a five-hour day. That would be perfect, but you have to have lunch in between,” added Kenny White of Brookville on Long Island.

“I lived in Spain for three years with my husband. They take siesta pretty seriously there, so I really appreciate having a shorter day,” said Rebecca Kirkorian of Malverne.

For others, it sounds like torture.

“I’m pushing for more hours. I want the people who work for me to work more hours also,” said David Spelbrink of Cresskill, N.J.

In Sweden, it may happen – for a select few. Municipal workers in Gothenburg will act as guinea pigs in a one-year trial. Their work hours will get cut to just six per day; their pay will stay the same.

The hope is the workers will feel better both mentally and physically.

When the year is up, performance will be compared to a control group that kept working eight hours a day.

Workplace expert Stephen Viscusi said the idea of a six-hour work day, while nice, is more of a gimmick. He said it makes much more sense to stick with the system we’ve got.

“We’re American strong because we work hard, we work long and that’s how we built the strongest economy in the world,” Viscusi said.

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