Is Portugal embracing a 4-day workweek?

The country has launched a pilot programme funded by the government in collaboration with 4 Day Week Global


In Portugal, 39 organisations or businesses in the private sector are participating in a pilot programme to test the four-day workweek. This programme, funded by the government, will see these businesses following the four-day workweek for the next six months. This is part of the four-day workweek experiments that have been taking place globally, under the aegis of 4 Day Week Global, the nonprofit organisation that has been running the campaign.

As part of the pilot, businesses will be reducing the number of hours every week without letting the pay of the employees be affected in any way. Employees will receive their full pay, that is, 100 per cent salary, although they will be working only 80 per cent of the time. However, they will be expected to deliver their 100 per cent without affecting their productivity in any way. This is called the 100-80-100 model.

Portugal is known to have the third-longest average workweek, while the UK and Ireland are on the first and second positions, respectively. About 72 per cent of the workers in Portugal put in over 40 hours of work every week.

The objective of this pilot programme is to see whether reduced working hours will help bring down stress levels and keep burnout at bay without affecting productivity. It is also hoped that the four-day workweek will help retain employees and also have a positive effect on the environment.

It is pertinent to mention here that, in 2021, Portugal had passed a legislation to ensure its working population enjoys a proper work-life balance and the ‘right to rest’. According to the law passed then, if employers try to get in touch with their employees by texting or calling after work hours, or before their work hours begin, they will have to pay a heavy penalty. This law forbids organisations from monitoring their employees while they work from home.

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