4-day work week: Introduction of pilot programme in Portugal

Portugal - 

Portugal Labor and Employment Alert

Ordinance no. 301/2022, of 20 December, was published in the Official Gazette, laying down the terms in which the pilot programme "Four-Day Week" is to be developed. This program aims to introduce, on an experimental basis, a reduction of the working week to four days by employers and their employees.

The abovementioned pilot programme is to analyse and test a new model of working time organization, by reducing the working week to only 4 days, having as main objectives the evaluation of:

  • New ways of organising and balancing working times, taking into account employees' interests, reducing companies' operating costs, and reducing environmental costs;
  • The impact that the reduction of working time, without salary reduction, has on the quality of life of employees and their families;
  • The effects on productivity, quality of services provided and absenteeism.

The pilot programme is directed to all companies and employees that decide to voluntarily join it, having the following guidelines:

  • A reorganisation of working times, moving to a 4-day working week model;
  • No reduction in the employees' salaries.

Employers that want to sign up for the pilot programme may do so using the form provided on the website  of the Portuguese public entity for employment and professional training (Instituto do Emprego e da Formação Profissional, I.P., hereinafter “IEFP”). By joining the pilot programme, it will start during 2023.

During the programme, evaluations will be made before, during and after the programme, using indicators related to:

  • The company, namely productivity and intermediate costs, and
  • Employees, including health and well-being.

The implementation and management of the pilot programme will be IEFP’s responsibility, with the cooperation of external entities:

  • Birkbeck University of London, which will be involved in drafting information, awareness, and dissemination contents, as well as in the design of data collection and analysis tools required to conduct the pilot programme and the respective reports;
  • The 4 Day Week Global Foundation, which will be responsible for providing technical support to the employers participating in the pilot program.