FACT CHECK: Is Finland Introducing 4-Day Work Weeks And 6-Hour Work Days?
The Sun published an article Jan. 6 claiming that Finland plans to introduce four-day work weeks and six-hour work days.
“We need this here,” reads the caption.
Marin has discussed the idea of instituting a four-day work week or six-hour work days in the past, but the Finnish government has no current plans to institute such a policy, per a government spokeswoman.
The Sun put out an erroneous report Jan. 6 crediting Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin with championing the shorter work week plan. Other outlets, like Seven News and ABC7, also published similar articles this week, though those have since been updated.
“FINLAND is introducing a FOUR-DAY working week and SIX-HOUR days under a massive reform by the world’s youngest prime minister, Sanna Marin,” wrote The Sun reporter Les Steed. “The 34-year-old’s reform will let workers spend more time with family and enjoy their lives, culture and hobbies.”
Contrary to The Sun’s article, neither Marin nor the Finnish government plan to reduce the average working time for full-time employees to four six-hour days. The Finnish government debunked this claim on Twitter Jan. 7.
In the Finnish Government´s program there is no mention about 4-day week. Issue is not on the Finnish Government’s agenda. PM @marinsanna envisioned idea briefly in a panel discussion last August while she was the Minister of Transport, and there hasn’t been any recent activity.
— Finnish Government (@FinGovernment) January 7, 2020
“In the Finnish Government’s program there is no mention about 4-day week,” reads part of the tweet. “Issue is not on the Finnish Government’s agenda.”
Pirita Ruokonen, a special adviser to the Finnish prime minister, told the Daily Caller that Marin floated the idea of Finland some day adopting either a four-day work week or six-hour work days at a Social Democratic Party event panel in August.
“However, this was more of a future vision and a potential future goal for the SDP (who has also in the past played a key role in reducing working hours) than something concrete for the near future,” Ruokonen said in an email to the Caller. “These proposals haven’t been and are not official government policy nor are included in the government’s policy programme (sic).”
It was also at this event marking the Finnish Socialist Democratic Party’s 120th anniversary that Marin, then the minister of transport and communications, made the comment quoted in The Sun’s article.
“People deserve to spend more time with their families, loved ones, hobbies and other aspects of life, such as culture,” The Sun quoted Marin as saying. “This could be the next step for us in working life.”
Marin also discussed shorter work weeks on Twitter Aug. 19, just days after floating the idea at that event. (RELATED: Is Europe The US’s Largest Trading Partner?)
Vastakin on pyrittävä työn tuottavuuden parantamiseen ja, että hyötyjä on tavallinen ihminen. Työajan lyhentämisestä voi ja pitää keskustella. 4 päivän työviikko tai 6 tunnin työpäivä elämiseen riittävällä palkalla on tänään ehkä utopiaa, mutta voi olla tulevaisuudessa totta.
— Sanna Marin (@MarinSanna) August 19, 2019
“Efforts must continue to be made to improve labor productivity and the benefits to the average person,” Marin tweeted, according to an English translation. “Shorter working hours can and should be discussed. A 4-day week or a 6-hour day with a decent wage may be a utopia today, but may be true in the future.”
Reports that Marin’s government was set to introduce four six-hour work days may have originated with a since-revised Jan. 2 article from New Europe, a Belgian newspaper. That story noted Marin mentioned the idea in August 2019 but had been silent on it since becoming prime minister.
Zoi Didili, the author of the New Europe article, told The Associated Press that she relied on a translation from original Finnish news sources that, among other details, wrongly claimed Marin suggested the work week changes together.
“The basis of the story was that we wanted to see whether the Finnish prime minister would uphold her earlier views,” Didili told The Associated Press. “This time we fell into the trap of not cross-checking this information properly.”