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Russian Civic Chamber doubtful of four-day week in Russia

October 07, 2014, 14:10 UTC+3 MOSCOW
A reduction of the working week will inevitably slow down labor productivity growth, Civic Chamber member Ivan Mokhnachuk says
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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov

MOSCOW, October 7. /TASS/. The idea of introducing a four-day working week in Russia needs discussions but it will hardly be implemented, Civic Chamber member Ivan Mokhnachuk said on Tuesday.

Some Russian media reported on Tuesday that the Labor Committee of the State Duma would discuss a proposal by the International Labor Organization (ILO) for its member states to switch to a four-day working week.

The ILO believes that this transition should help increase the number of jobs and have a beneficial effect on human health and the environment. “I believe today we need a more profound analysis of the possibility to implement this task. However, as it seems to me, this idea will not be realized in today’s conditions,” Mokhnachuk said.

A reduction of the working week will inevitably slow down labor productivity growth, the Civic Chamber member said.

At the same time, he did not rule out that an option of increasing the work time would be considered for the transition to a four-day week. “It is important to understand whether the level of wages existing for a five-day week will remain in this case,” he said. “I doubt that employers would agree to this.”

The Russian business daily Kommersant reported on Tuesday citing State Duma Labor Committee Chairman Andrey Isayev that the Committee would decide this week on holding a roundtable on the ILO’s four-day week proposal.

The Russian lawmaker said at the same time that the number of work hours was more important than the number of working days. “If you work ten hours during four days, you’ll get the same 40-hour working week,” Kommersant quoted Isayev as saying.

The Russian lawmaker believes it is necessary to discuss the possibility of introducing a 36-hour working week with the preservation of wages.

The ILO’s proposal can become binding for Russia, if it is formalized in a convention, which Russia should ratify. However, experts say the idea can hardly be realized in Russia due to low labor productivity, Kommersant said.

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