MILAN, October 11 (Reuters) – The largest bank in Italy Intesa Sanpaolo ISP.MI is discussing with unions a four-day working week for its 74,000 employees in the country – the first such initiative from a major Italian employer.
Shortening the working week would help Intesa reduce its electricity bills at a time when European companies are struggling with exorbitant energy costs.
Intesa would give employees the option to work 36 hours a week over four days, instead of the current 37.5 hours over five days, earning the same pay, a spokesman for the lender said.
“We are discussing something that is already foreseen by the national contract for the banking sector. It is not as if Intesa made this up. We are not in a rush, let’s see how the discussions evolve,” said the union leader of the FABI, Lando Sileoni.
“If we reach an agreement, it can’t just be up to the company to grant it or not, and it can’t just be about energy costs that are passed on to the worker because the days are from four to instead of five.”
Sileoni, who heads Italy’s biggest banking syndicate, urged other lenders to follow Intesa’s lead and hold similar talks.
The idea of shorter work weeks has been debated for a while and gained traction during the COVID-19 pandemic, with proponents saying it could help boost productivity.
(Reporting by Valentina Za and Alvise Armellini; editing by David Evans)
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