Some In Germany Are Calling For A 30-Hour Work Week To Combat Unemployment

By Stephen Fuchs on Email @StephenWFuchs

Businessman and office workers

German workers already seem to have some pretty decent work hours and vacation time, but now a group of roughly 100 German unionists, politicians, and economists are pushing the case for even less hours in the typical German’s work week.  This 30-hour work week would come without a pay cut and would ideally create more productive workers and combat rising unemployment… at least that is what this group of 100 believes.

Germany’s unemployment as of January sits at 7.4 percent with more than 3 million unemployed and another 3 million working part time jobs.  The Left party, which is known for having some pretty radical ideas, is the leading political group behind the idea and told the daily Germany newspaper the Tageszeitung on Monday that there is an oversupply in the job market that is pushing wages lower.  In order for any progression of the 30 hour week to take place, workers would need to be reassured that their cut in hours would not result in a cut in pay.

Some trade union leaders fear that employees would feel that the reduction would only lead to higher workloads, but according to Hein-Josef Bontrup, a leading proponent of the 30-hour idea, this is purely due to the lack of understanding on how it would work.  Whether this idea ever comes to be, the current plan being proposed would have this change take place over a period of several years so that it could gradually be integrated into society.

What do you think about the idea of moving to a 30-hour work week in Germany?  Do you think it could work to cut down on unemployment?  Let us know in the comments below.


Sources: CNBC, The Local
Photo by Victor1558 via Flickr

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Stephen Fuchs
Stephen founded German Pulse and LGBT Germany out of a passion to introduce Americans to a Germany that goes beyond beer and polka (although with enough beer he has been known to polka it up a bit). He's a coffee addict, lover of wine and good times, a hit in the kitchen and editor of TV commercials. You can follow him on Twitter (@StephenWFuchs) to find out a lot more.
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