Danish municipality gives its staff three-day weekends

Danish municipality gives its staff three-day weekends
File photo: Thomas Lekfeldt/Ritzau Scanpix
For just over a year, Odsherred Municipality has operated under a trial programme which gives 300 civil servants employed by the authority Fridays off work.

In return for the three-day weekend, staff at the northwest Zealand municipality must work the standard 37-hour week through Monday-Thursday.

The trial has worked so well that Odsherred is considering expanding it to municipal-run childcare facilities, DR Sjælland reports.

“We work very much based on when our residents need us,” Eva Haupt-Jørgensen, a union representative for public servants in Odsherred, said to DR.

The municipality has used a model which offers residents greater flexibility over when they can book appointments with staff, with more evening availability.

Evening working can be made to fit with employees’ home lives, Haupt-Jørgensen said.

“We can still go to gymnastics on a Thursday afternoon if that’s what we do. We just regulate and are here (at work) at other times,” she said.

The system makes it easier for residents to get in touch with the authorities outside of their own working hours, she noted.

“Now, residents can call and speak to a member of staff from 7:30am until 6pm,” mayor Thomas Adelskov told DR.

Although rolling out the concept to childcare facilities would mean a slightly different form, the idea could also be beneficial in that sector, he said.

“It’s clear that we can’t close childcare one day a week. But good models could be found whereby some people have Friday off, some have Monday off, and there are three continuous (working) days,” he said.

The trial is in place for three years for municipal administrative staff.

READ ALSO: Denmark tops EU survey on work-life balance


Member comments

Become a Member to leave a comment.Or login here.