The city government’s residents’ council (borgerrepræsentation) has voted to bring in a trail scheme that will provide for four-day working weeks from 2024, according to local media TV2 Kosmopol.
The decision means that shorter weeks – with additional hours fitted into the four working days – will be an option at several departments in the municipality, which is Denmark’s largest local government with 45,000 staff.
The trial will go ahead provided a majority accepts it as part of next year’s budget, which will be finalised in the autumn.
It will take the form of an initial one-year trial scheme with the option of extension to also include 2025.
Trade union Djøf told news wire Ritzau it took a positive view of the project.
“Many people appreciate having an extra day when they can pick up the kids early or get some errands done which you need time for during the day,” chairperson Sara Vergo said.
A survey by the trade union last year found that 64 percent of staff and 65 percent of managers would consider implementing a four-day working week in some form.
The Copenhagen Municipality proposal went through without a vote because all parties were in favour.
The decision does not mean city employees will be working fewer hours. Instead, they will distribute their existing hours over four days.
The municipality would not be allowed by law to pay staff for a full 37-hour week if they have only worked 30 hours, it said.
While parties agreed on the trial, there was some disagreement over its exact form, TV2 Kosmopol writes.
The Social Democratic and Socialist People’s Party (SF) representatives wanted the trial to be implemented in April, rather than waiting until next year.
Copenhagen is not the first Danish municipality to experiment with a four-day week. Other local governments have in recent years trialled shorter weeks and a higher degree of flexibility over staff hours.
“We know that there’s a relatively large stress crisis in Denmark and that one of the remedies against this is to spend less time at work and more flexible working hours,” Troels Christian Jakobsen of the Alternative party, who tabled the proposal for the Copenhagen scheme, said to Ritzau.
“We didn’t succeed on this occasion on getting fewer working hours. There are a load of rules that prevent that,” he said.
“But we have certainly met our goal on giving a more flexible framework for the work and we have a strong sense that this can help to improve job satisfaction,” he said.