Malta is not ready for a four-day work week, Finance Minister says

Last Updated on Tuesday, 5 October, 2021 at 1:38 pm by Andre Camilleri

Malta is not ready for a four-day work week owing to the share of workers who are low-skilled, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said on Tuesday.

“We cannot speak about a four-day work week when 28% of our workers are low-skilled.  We can speak about it when our workers have improved their productivity quite a bit.  We can get there, but we need to roll our sleeves up to get there,” he said.

A pilot project on a four-day work week was amongst the pre-budget proposals put forward by the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD) last August.

Caruana was then asked during the business breakfast, which saw the launch of Malta’s national employment policy which caters for the period up until 2030, whether his rejection of the idea meant that he is saying that Maltese workers aren’t capable enough and whether the idea would be considered for those who do have the right skills.

“Nobody stops employers from implementing it if they want,” Caruana clarified.

“To get the most Facebook likes, I can easily say that we can start discussing this subject – but we aren’t there yet. We cannot offer the illusion of offering something which in truth cannot be done,” he said.

“We need to be prepared for it – but in truth, we aren’t.  Part of the population is, but the rest isn’t.  Either everyone has to move forward, or we don’t move at all.  The country has advanced, but not enough.  We’ll get there, but not yet,” he added.

A number of countries have trialled a four-day work week, with Iceland being the foremost amongst those having carried out a trial which spanned for four years.

The most recent to announce a pilot project on this subject was Scotland.

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