August 08, 2017
This is how I want to work! – vbw campaigns for flexible working hours
The current work time regulations are too complex and old-fashioned
In Germany, labor law and collective labor agreements regulate work time in a very strict and complex manner. However, these regulations originated in the 1970s and 1980s: At that time, work was based on a firmly established framework – with a definite beginning and end of each working day. With the proliferation of personal computers in the mid-eighties, new technological possibilities, and new production methods, customer demands and personal preferences on labor flexibility have changed dramatically. Work nowadays is done disregarding time zones, established work places or traditional work times.
Today, it has become a matter of course for all of us to obtain goods and services from any location at any time. This applies to private households, just as it does to companies. As a consequence, the German Working Time Act has to become more flexible.
In a joint effort of 36 of its 133 member associations, the Bavarian Industry Association (vbw) is promoting a wide-ranging PR campaign for an adaptation to the European Working Time Directive. It demands:
- The limitation of the daily working hours to a maximum of ten hours must be abandoned. The leeway of the European guideline must be fully exploited as it allows an average of up to 48 hours weekly.
- The fixed minimum of eleven hours of resting time between the end of work and its start on the next day must be eliminated.
The campaign's focus is on “real” employees (not actors!) from various sectors, using the motto of “This is how I want to work!” to explain why they, the employer, and consumers require more flexibility in working hours. The motto and motifs are designed to raise attention on billboards and online banners, as well as in brochures. Key elements are the campaign website and social media channels with examples from numerous industry sectors and video interviews. One million beer coasters printed with the ten campaign motifs will be displayed on tables throughout Bavaria in beer gardens, restaurants, and inns to expand our public reach.
The campaign and several top meetings with high-ranking Bavarian and German politicians in the run-up to the Bundestag election in fall 2017 made it very clear that the flexibilization of working hours must be on the legislative agenda of the new government.