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‘We Must Be More Productive’: Less Work With Same Pay Still Far Off, Malta’s Finance Minister Says

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Four-day working weeks may yet remain just a dream for the Maltese workforce, with Minister for Finance and Employment Clyde Caruana reiterating his stance on the matter.

Following his appointment in late 2020, Caruana expressed skepticism at the prospect of shorter working weeks amid the ever-growing trend across the globe. And posing the question two years later did not seem to change in the Minister’s stance.

“In the Netherlands, people normally work around 30 hours [per week], if not less,” Caruana told Lovin Malta. “But that can be justified because they have higher productivity, and their level of technology and human capital allows them to [do this].”

“Of course, I would be in favour, [so long as] we have the necessary conditions, as other countries do. Unless we meet those conditions, I don’t think [fewer working hours] would be realistic.”

“[We have] to be more productive than [we are] right now. If I would like to stay at home more, but keep my pay as is, this has to be justified through higher productivity.”

Contemplations tied to downsizing working hours crept their way into our minds after the UK launched a pilot trial to determine its feasibility.

However, impasses within the Maltese workforce currently keep us from making shorter workweeks a reality.

The four-day workweek has been gaining popularity over recent years, with culture changes tempting governments to shift towards more flexible working hours.

Some studies even suggest that this reduction may be good for business.

Shorter working hours have displayed numerous advantages. For instance, countries centered around shorter working days are marked with higher scores in the World Happiness Report Ranking.

The Netherlands and Scandinavian countries were among the first to join the foray, with Ireland and Scotland following behind.

Outside Europe countries like Japan, UAE, and New Zealand have also seen a reduction in their working hours.

With Malta still pressing on a five-day week roster, could we also see the day when we start entertaining the shift?

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