Swedish nursing home ditches 6-hour workday pilot

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A Swedish nursing home has discontinued its highly-publicized six-hour workday experiment despite facility administration's belief that it made the environment more relaxed and reduced sick leave among employees.

The program, launched at several workplaces in the city of Gothenburg in 2015, allowed employees to work just 30 hours a week. Those reduced schedules required the Svartedalens nursing home to hire 17 new employees at a cost of 1.26 million Euros, the equivalent of roughly $1.3 million.

The costs required to maintain the program, launched by former left-wing city council members, were viewed as too high by the new right-wing majority, Euronews reported on Wednesday. Local reports had questioned the viability of the program last April.

“So if we should let all these 530,000 employees work six hours and get paid for eight hours … we need more hands, we need more people to go to work,” one lawmaker told Euronews.

Despite the costs, the nursing home's administrator reported that the program created a less stressful atmosphere for both staff and residents, and cut down on sick days used by workers. Those results are still promising to the Gothenburg official who oversees city programs for the elderly, even if the program itself won't continue.

“Looking at the public economy as a whole we create more jobs, we have a lower sick leave rate, and we have a perceived higher quality of care,” Daniel Bernmar told Euronews. “For me, it's natural step to look at how we can improve the work environment and possibly get a more sustainable labor market where people work longer and feel better about working than they do today.”