Poland To Adopt 4-Day Workweek,
Employers Are Scratching Their Foreheads

May 17, 2024

Wrocław, Poland

By: Anthony Chiu

It is official. The Polish government announced it is going to change its labor law by sanctioning a reduced workweek.

At the moment, the official workweek in Poland is 40 hours long, but this will change by 2027 due to an imminent reduction.

The Central Institute for Labor Protection has been tasked with probing whether a four-day workweek or seven-hour workdays are the better options for workers in Poland, given its socio-economic situation. Once the institute finalizes the assessment, the government will vote for one of the two possibilities, and the workweek will be shortened by law.

The Factors That Has Led Poland to This Point

Poland may become one of the earliest countries in the world — and the third in Europe after Iceland and Belgium — to officially practice the four-day workweek nationwide.

Poland is lagging behind West European countries in terms of technology adoption in the private sector, despite its unwavering efforts to catch up with its western counterparts. With a 35-hour workweek in France and 37 in Denmark, these countries boast productivity rates 9.6 percent and 13.3 percent above the EU average , respectively, while Poland stands 17.3 percent below (Eurostat, 2023).

This West Slavic country also tops the rankings of the most overworked nations in Europe, clocking at 1,815 hours a year (OECD, 2022). In contrast, France and Denmark report significantly lower figures, with the French working 1,511 hours and the Danes just 1,372 hours each year, highlighting a stark disparity in work-life balance across the continent.

Agnieszka Dziemanowicz-Bąk, the Minister of Family, Labor, and Social Policy in Poland, expressed her plans for change during a live interview on radio RMF FM. She stated, “Technology has moved forward, and work efficiency does not equate to work length. Poles are among those working the longest hours in the EU and they lack time for living.”

This signals a revolutionary mindset shift in Poland, a country that, until now, has been stuck in past working habits. Currently, only 18.8 percent and 35.6 percent of Poland’s white collars are working in remote and hybrid modes , respectively. 45.7 percent of the workforce do their job in a traditional office setting (RocketJobs, 2024).

In comparison, in the US, the numbers are reversed . In February 2024, 27 percent of Americans worked remotely, 54 percent “hybridly”, and only a fifth on-site (Gallup, 2024).

The plan to shorten workweeks in Poland was revealed at a time when the cost of living in this country had peaked. Before 2021, the Polish middle class was expanding annually. From 2013 to 2020, disposable income grew by an average of 3.94 percent (Focus Economics, 2022).

Everything tumbled after the challenging lockdown years of 2020 and 2021, and the outbreak of armed conflict in neighboring Ukraine in 2022, which drove the cost of food and other commodities to new highs. The financial torment of Poles crescendoed last year when a disquieting 18 percent inflation left many in the red. Now, the middle class has crumbled, left with unchanged work hours, and dissatisfied citizens are pleading with their government for help.

At the beginning of 2024, Herbapol, a longstanding Polish food manufacturer, announced that their company is going four-days. This announcement sparked widespread discussion across this Central European country about shorter workweeks.

Despite sky-high skepticism among employers, the 2027 deadline is set. Every company in Poland will need to adhere to the forthcoming regulations. The transitional period from 2024 to 2027 offers companies time to prepare for these changes.

Time Management Plays First Fiddle

“Time management — and management skills at large — will play first fiddle in the transition of over two million Polish companies to a four-day workweek,” said TimeCamp’s CEO Kamil Rudnicki at the first weekly board meeting following Minister Dziemanowicz-Bąk’s announcement of her vision for the country.

TimeCamp, a time tracking software developer headquartered in Wrocław, Poland, will share the fate of other two million companies facing this emerging labor transformation. For the time tracking application developer, planning and trials for the four-day workweek revolution are imminent.

Fortunately for Rudnicki, TimeCamp seems to stand on firm ground when it comes to facing what is yet to come. Using its own time tracking product, the business has the ability to collect data on how work time is utilized across all departments, turning time into a resource similar to money or materials.

“When you have hard data on paper, you make informed decisions about how to restructure business processes,” said Rudnicki at the board meeting. According to the company’s customer survey from January 2023, respondents experienced an efficiency increase within their teams by an average of 15.8 percent since using the application. Additionally, other features available by default helped users reduce time spent on administrative tasks by 16.4 percent, and it reduced the time needed to forecast project budgets by 12.5 percent.

13 years ago, some of TimeCamp’s white-collar employees were already working remotely. In 2020, the work-from-home policy was fully embraced and remains unchanged. The four-day workweek presents a new challenge; however Rudnicki is poised to successfully transform his company and help others do the same.

Key to the Upcoming Labor Transformation

If companies aim to retain 100 percent output with 80 percent of the previous working time while maintaining 100 percent pay, they must focus on their teams' efficiency rather than productivity — specifically, completing tasks in less time rather than doing more. As Dziemanowicz-Bąk noted, accomplishing more tasks doesn’t linearly lead to better results. Gathering data on business processes and identifying time sinks will be the initial step towards restructuring work models in two million Polish companies by 2027.


Communication specialist at TimeCamp. Writes stories about business, time management, remote work, and work-life balance. Of Chinese ethnicity, born in Panama, living in Poland, and speaks four languages.