Parents of small children should be allowed to work just six hours a day at full pay, claims one of Norway’s biggest labour unions, YS. It’s lobbying for the right to a six-hour workday for parents when their children are aged one to three.
“This is a proposal that we think will lead to more women staying in full-time jobs to a much higher degree,” Hege Herø og YS told newspaper Aftenposten. “At the same time, we’ll avoid many fathers working too much overtime.”
She pointed to statistics indicating that while four out of 10 women work part-time in Norway, only 10 percent of men do the same. Many women cut back to part-time after ending their fully paid maternity leave from full-time jobs, “and we know that women often continue with that once they’ve begun.”
Herø believes that “if both mom and dad had shorter workdays in the most hectic period (when children are small and need to be delivered to and picked up from day care centers) it’s probable that moms would hang on to the strong ties to their jobs.”
NHO, the national organization representing employers, thinks a six-hour workday is “the wrong way to go.” NHO officials worry it would still reduce the work force and that there are no guarantees men would reduce their workdays as well, to take on more responsibility at home.