Workers in Belgium now have the right to ask their employers for a four-day workweek. The Belgian government on Tuesday passed the reform, along with a bundle of other revisions to the country's labor laws.
Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the goal is to make the economy more productive and increase employment, The Guardian reported. To appease workers, the government is requiring companies to adopt more-flexible working hours and the option to totally disconnect after working hours. Employees requesting a four-day workweek will be expected to work longer hours but won't lose any salary.
The four-day workweek has been growing in popularity across the globe, including in Iceland, where the government trialed the program from 2015 to 2019. It is also becoming a go-to work perk in Silicon Valley for companies that think they can get more done in a shorter amount of time. Some adopt the policy temporarily to offer three-day weekends over the summer, but others — like ecommerce company Bolt — have adopted the practice permanently.
For smaller startups, the four-day workweek might not be as feasible. But advocates say the shorter week makes workers more productive, and the companies that have transitioned may never go back.