Szekler construction company introduces four-day workweek

On the same day Spain launched its nationwide trial of a four-day workweek, a Szekler company in Gyergyószentmiklós/Gheorgheni became the first in the region (and maybe in Romania) to introduce it as well.

Starting March 15, employees at construction company Tig-Rad System are working only four days a week, having Fridays free. In other words, they will be enjoying a long weekend throughout the spring-to-autumn period.

The new work schedule means employees will work 10 hours a day instead of 8, but in return, they’ll get a paid day off each week. The trial is the result of negotiations with employee representatives, and, according to CEO Tibor Bajkó, the initiative was hailed by both management and employees. Bajkó expects positive results, improved mental health of workers and improved productivity.

This should have been introduced earlier

“We see that many of our workers have other duties they must fulfill alongside their daily jobs. Before this change, these tasks were done on the weekend. But now that they can fulfill their extra duties on Friday and Saturday, Sunday will finally become a rest day,” Bajkó told Hungarian news outlet Székelyhon.

Representatives of workers claim this should have been introduced earlier. The number of hours worked won’t change: the weekly 40 work hours will simply be fulfilled in four days instead of five.

As the COVID-19 pandemic kicked in, the idea of a four-day workweek gained traction in the Romanian online space, but companies refrained from adopting it. The Szekler company will be the first to actually test it out from spring to the end of autumn. During winter, the company will return to the previous five-day workweek because the sun sets earlier, limiting visibility on construction sites.

The concept of the four-day workweek has been gaining popularity from New Zealand to Germany, but countries have been hesitant to implement a nationwide change. Spain is set to become one of the first countries in the world to trial the four-day workweek, with the government backing a nationwide pilot project with a handful of companies, reports the Guardian. However, in contrast to what we are seeing in Transylvania, in Spain, working hours will be cut to 32 per week.

Title image: Construction site featuring the Szekler company’s workers. Image credit: Székelyhon/Imre Gergely

Author: István Fekete