Frequently Asked Questions
The shortened working week for day workers will be organized separately in each institution. This can take many forms and will reflect what is best for the institution and staff. Therefore, you should carefully examine all aspects of the activity, procedures, and workflow. A Committee on Working Hours will be created to guide each institution's implementation of this task. Employees will elect their representatives to the committee in addition to members elected by the director. Working Hours Committees will have access to information material on how best to conduct this process, as well as information on how to increase efficiency and productivity, so that employees' time spent on activities other than work can be reduced. Then the Committee for Working Hours will initiate a reform dialogue in which management and staff can discuss together what organization of working hours is most appropriate. Consequently, the Working Hours Committee will submit a proposal to the workers to vote.
The dialogue on the reform, and thus the change in the organization of working hours, is expected to be completed by October 1, 2020 and the new organization could enter into force no later than January 1, 2021.
Will the shortening of the working week for day workers be executed in the way for all staff members at an institution/workplace?
The operational activities of individual departments / units within the same institution may differ, so it should not be assumed that the same organization of working hours will be appropriate for everyone. In some cases, reducing the daily working hours may be more appropriate in certain departments, while in others it may be better to shorten the working week. The implementation may therefore take various forms, although the system is not intended to be tailored individually to each employee. The conclusions of the reform dialogue may also be that the current organization best suits everyone's needs.
If an agreement is reached on the maximum reduction of working hours, i.e. by 4 hours a week, this automatically invalidates Art. 3.1 on lunch breaks and coffee breaks. However, this does not mean that employees will not be allowed to take a break to drink coffee or eat lunch, but it will not be a formal break under the collective agreement. As staff will need replacement, the institution should ensure that break outs are orderly. Employees may also decide that they still want to control their lunch and coffee breaks themselves, but this would mean a correspondingly shorter working week.
How is it possible to shorten the working week at institutions that are already seeing a significant workload?
Before starting the implementation of the shortened working week, you should research the procedures and methods of work and carefully analyze the tasks performed by employees. There may be a need to change the organization of work, for example to extend the scope of electronic services or introduce a time management system, to achieve the goal of mutual benefits for staff and organization by reducing working hours. The reform dialogue to be conducted by the Working Hours Committee is therefore essential for the reduction of working hours, especially in places with a high workload.
In my workplace we have been given a great deal of flexibility and are, for example, allowed to go off to the gym twice a week. Will this be cancelled after shortening the working week?
In workplaces that offer considerable flexibility, the conclusions of the reform dialogue may be that no changes should be made to the organization of work. Many workplaces expect permits for short trips to settle private matters during working hours, and if we add to this the possibility of using the gym during working hours, then the number of shortened active working hours per week is unlikely to exceed 36 working hours, which corresponds to the maximum reduction .
One of the primary goals by improving working hours, is to enable staff to find a better balance between their work and home life. Increased overtime runs contrary to that goal. Staff's wages should not be reduced by shortening working hours, but, by the same token, one of the main preconditions for the reduction is that it will not lead to an increase in government spending. That is why the dialogue on reform is necessary, as the shortening of work hours must deliver mutual benefits for institutions as well as staff.
Participation in dialogues on reform at each workplace is mandatory. The new shift work system should work the same for all workplaces, and it is likely that many workplaces will need to make changes to shift plans or reorganize in order to implement the changes effectively. A script for a dialogue on reform will be made available on the website betrivinnutimi.is, where you will find examples of the types of questions that would be beneficial to address in such a dialogue. Both management and staff will receive training on how to conduct the dialogues on reform as well as other components.
Training for management, shift organizers and payroll staff is being prepared. This will include training for the new system functionality.