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Russia may ‘gradually’ adopt 4-day work week to decrease unemployment

A shorter work week will give Russians extra time for their families and to pursue their interests, without losing any pay, a senior lawmaker says. The measure is also expected to reduce unemployment.

The ruling United Russia party supports the idea of adopting a four-day work week, the deputy speaker of the parliament’s lower house, Andrey Isayev, said on Tuesday.

He explained that the measure will allow workers “to take more time off and spend it with their families,” as well as investing time in education and taking better care of their health. A shorter work week will also decrease unemployment, he added.

The four-day work week was previously suggested by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and endorsed by the nation’s largest union group, the Federation of Independent Trade Unions.

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A June poll shows that nearly a half of the citizens oppose the change, with 43 percent saying they fear a shorter work week will bring lower pay. Isayev, however, said that employees must retain their salaries when being shifted to the new schedule.

The senior lawmaker noted that the implementation of the four-day work week has to be “gradual” so that companies and workers can adjust. Work on the bill is expected to start next month.

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