The 40-hour workweek – is it still up to date?


Many changes – but working hours remained the same

Since the seventies, – the 40-hour workweek is standard in Germany. However, the working environment has changed completely since then. New technological opportunities led to increased productivity. Just visualize the development of the internet and the accompanying changes of the economy, not to mention social media, smartphones, and the development process of industry 4.0. 

In Germany, the gross domestic product per person has more than sixfold between 1970 and 2019. The work volume on the other hand has “only” increased by 13 %. You don’t need a degree in economics to conclude, that one hour of work generates more value than was the case in 1970.

More money vs. more free time

Now there are two possibilities to make use of this increased productivity: The first one is to work as much as before and generate more output. That gets practiced for ages – otherwise, the numbers mentioned above would not come into being. However, there is a second variant. You can also work less and generate the same value as before. Especially nowadays, when work-life balance becomes more and more important, a very attractive variant. 

PAPUREX chose the free time

Exactly this route we plan to go at PAPUREX to pass on the positive development of the last decades to those who are responsible for it – our employees. Since the 1st of January 2022, a 37,5-hour workweek applies to the whole company. That is 0,5 hours per day or 2,5 hours a week less than before. Converted to the 253 workdays in Hessen in 2022, this means that our colleagues have more than five days of additional spare time – for equal pay. Several studies back up this plan by concluding that less work time doesn’t only lead to the same but increased productivity through an improved work-life balance. But enough theoretical banter, the PAPUREX team will make its own experiences with a shorter work time in practice!

Uhr, auf der 7,5 Stunden in rot und 0,5 Stunden in grün markiert sind.