A group of economists believes the working week should be reduced from an average of 40 hours to just 30 and cite Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, among others, as examples of countries that have shorter working weeks but no less productivity among workers, the Independent reported.
Anna Coote, head of social policy at the New Economic Forum think-tank, which compiled the research, said that having too little time to call our own can seriously damage our health and well-being, our family life, friendships and communities.
She said that no one should be made to work long and unsocial hours to make ends meet.
The authors of Time on Our Side argue that there is no correlation between average paid working hours and the strength of a country's economy, and point out that the working week in Britain is longer than in almost every other European country.
A quarter of all sick days taken are due to work-related problems, especially stress and mental illness, with Britons suffering the most in Europe, the study revealed.
A recent survey by the European Depression Association found one in four British workers has been diagnosed with stress or depression, compared with just 12 percent of Italians.
However, the economists argue that, with a shorter working week, staff would be less likely to call in sick, be more productive, and this would create jobs for the unemployed.
A shorter working week would mean less money, but the authors claim that this would in turn be good for the environment.
The spare time could also be used to care for the elderly, an ever-growing issue as the ageing population increases, the researchers suggest.
--ANI (Posted on 18-09-2013)