The 36-hour work week option

Philipsburg – December 23rd, 2020. The General Audit Chamber submitted its report entitled “Mini audit survey: The 36-hour work week option for civil servants” to Parliament today. A survey was distributed to civil servants of all ministries and the High Councils of State to gauge their level of interest on the topic of free time.

To acquire the second tranche of liquidity support, a reduction of 12.5% of the total employment package of all employees in the (semi) public sector is necessary.

Even though the report does not use a statistically representative sample, it does provide an indication on the level of interest to voluntarily adopt a shorter workweek; 32 or 36 hours instead of 40 hours a week. In total, 290 responses were acquired.

The Audit Chamber asked respondents to rate their level of agreement or disagreement to the statement “Reducing my work week hours would negatively affect my financial situation”. 87 respondents (30%) were indifferent or disagreed that reducing their work hours would negatively affect their financial situation.

The number of respondents represent a potential structural savings of between NAf 472,000 (in case of a 36-hour work week) to NAf 1 million (in case of a 32- hour work week) for government. Assuming that the level of response (87 respondents, equaling 30%) was present in the entire population of the civil service, a potential cost saving of NAf 3 million could be achieved.

The report is published in both English and Dutch and is available on the website of the General Audit Chamber ( and via links on the General Audit Chamber’s social media platforms Facebook and LinkedIn.

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