Did Finland really declare a 4-day working week in its country? Here’s the fact check

Finland has always been a country with the highest happiness index than any other country in the world. They say happiness is found even in little things and Finland has retained its top rank for the second year in a row according to a World Happiness Report.

The UN report was released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations on March 20, declared as ‘World Happiness Day’ by the UN General Assembly in 2012.

The report rates countries on 6 key variables like income, freedom, trust, healthy life expectancy, social support and generosity. The fact that Finland tops the list as the happiest country in the world consecutively makes the country a class apart.

Coming to the point, several media outlets across the globe have been reporting that Finland wants to cut down working hours and days for the employees in the country. It was earlier reported that Finland wants to introduce a four-day workweek phenomenon. Is this true? Let’s find out.

Credits: EurActiv

Several international media outlets in UK, US, Australia and India have reported that Finland’s 34-year-old prime minister identified as Sanna Marin has announced plans to introduce a four-day workweek, and in some cases a six-hour workday too. However, in reality, the country’s government has no such plans.

There is very little validity to these recent claims and as per the Finnish government itself, no such plans exist. “There’s no mention of this in the government’s program. It is not on the government’s agenda,” a government source told AFP in a text message. The source also regretted that “no fact-checking whatsoever” had been attempted.

On Tuesday, the government also officially denied the plans in a tweet. “In the Finnish Government´s program, there is no mention about a 4-day week. The 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,” it added.

The new young Finland PM Marin said the four-day working week and six-hour working day could be the future goal:

“A four-day working week, six-hour working day, why can’t that be the next step? Is eight hours the final reality? In my opinion, people deserve more time with their families, their close ones, with their hobbies and other things in their life. This could be the next step for us in working life,” she added while listing things she hoped for in the future.

Several media publications reporting the story refer to an article by Brussels-based publication New Europe, published on January 2.

The New Europe article makes clear that this is not an official policy of the new government, but had suggested that Marin could bring up the idea once again now in her new role as prime minister in the future.

Sanna Marin suggested that a shorter workweek should be a future goal in Finland. However, it is quite clear now that there is no truth to reports that Finland in any such circumstance is preparing to bring in a four-day workweek or shorten the working hours of the day.