Labor Ministry to Discuss 4-day Workweek Experiment

The Russian Ministry of Labor and Social Protection will discuss an experiment to introduce a four-day workweek in enterprises included in the national productivity enhancement project, Izvestia reported Monday citing Peter Zaselsky, Deputy Minister of Economic Development.

It is noted that the list of companies includes enterprises in the field of processing industry, agriculture, scientific and technical activities, as well as construction.

“At the enterprises … workers do not do anything 30–40% of the time. Our task is not to shorten the working day, but to make them useful,” Zaselsky said.

The deputy minister added that there are currently no clear parameters for the transition period to the four-day workweek. According to him, the final conclusion on the reduction of the workweek can be made when the scheme is tested in a large number of companies since an experiment within a single enterprise will be unconvincing.

So, it is reported that the experiment will be carried out in 266 enterprises of small and medium-sized businesses from 30 regions of Russia.

Earlier this month, Labor and Social Protection Minister Maxim Topilin said the introduction of a four-day workweek is possible in the long term but not in the next few years.

“This is not something that will be resolved in the coming years. This is a quite long process. Remember when we had a six-day workweek? This was in 1967-1968. How many years have passed? I can say that there are not any precedents when a country switched to a four day work week. This is a certain prospect. Somehow we can talk about this in the future,” he said.

In August, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia sent a proposal to the Labor and Social Protection Ministry to reduce the workweek to four days while maintaining salaries. Medvedev instructed the ministry to define its position on the prospects for the transition to a four-day workweek. The Prime Minister stressed that the transition should go hand in hand with an increase in labor productivity and maintaining salaries.