Add another country to the list of nations enjoying a four-day work week.
On Tuesday, the seven-party coalition federal government in Belgium reached a deal that not only allows Belgian employees to work a four-day work week, but also gives them the right to ignore work-related messages after hours without facing repercussions. The reform package also creates new rules for people who work for internet platforms like Uber, including now considering them employees.
According to Reuters, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said the pandemic has changed the way we work and, as such, workers should be able to evolve, too.
"We have experienced two difficult years. With this agreement, we set a beacon for an economy that is more innovative, sustainable and digital," Croo said, according to Euro News. "The aim is to be able to make people and businesses stronger."
Now, employees can request to work up to 10 hours a day — if their trade unions allow it — instead of the maximum eight. In return, they work one less day per week and receive the same pay. They can also choose each week which schedule they would like to work, which was specifically added in order to "benefit those who wish to spend more time with their children," Belgian labor minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne said in a statement.
The agreement comes as nations across the world are considering a change in how we approach work. Just a month ago, the UK announced its plans to try out a four-day work-week. Panasonic also recently introduced an optional four-day work week for employees, and Iceland had a trial from 2015 to 2019 that showed that workers were happier, healthier, and more productive than they were working a five-day work week.
"This study shows that the world's largest ever trial of a shorter working week in the public sector was by all measures an overwhelming success," Will Stronge, the director of research for the Iceland trial, said at the time. "It shows that the public sector is ripe for being a pioneer of shorter working weeks — and lessons can be learned for other governments."
On the off chance that manifesting works, here's my call: Four-day workweeks are up next in the U.S.