Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo launches 4-day week

More and more companies are reducing their employees' working week to 4 days without loss of pay. The Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo wants to extend this practice to all its branches.

Negotiations open with unions

As part of its negotiations with trade unions on flexible working arrangements, Intesa Sanpaolo has proposed that certain employees be able to switch to a 4-day week without loss of pay.

According to the daily La Repubblica, which hails the bank's initiative, " A pure utopia some time ago will soon be a reality ".

Negotiations with the unions are focusing on a one-hour increase in daily working time, to allow for the transition to a shorter working week. There is also talk of giving employees a free choice of days not worked.

A decision affecting administrative staff

The 4-day week, provided for in the industry's collective bargaining agreement, had never been applied until now. Intesa Sanpaolo's proposal concerns administrative staff only. In other words, network and digital employees will not be able to benefit from it. Employees wishing to take advantage of this measure will have to make a request to their hierarchy and will receive a positive or negative response within 3 months.

The proposal from the Italian bank, which employs around 76,000 people, has met with strong reservations from the unions, who are calling for it to be extended to all staff. They are also calling for clearer rules on the right to disconnect and financial compensation for costs incurred by teleworkers.

A win-win agreement for all

Although the 4-day working week is gradually gaining ground in Europe, few initiatives of this kind are being undertaken in Italy, as the country is more focused on increasing productivity than reducing working hours.

Intesa Sanpaolo sees the agreement as a win-win situation. On the one hand, the bank improves its staff management. It can also save on energy bills and staff travel costs. On the other, employees can manage their free time more easily.

Despite the advantages put forward by Intesa Sanpaolo, which is counting on a widespread return to growth in 2024, this proposal could create inequalities with employees unable to benefit from the 4-day week.

" This will be a complex but fascinating challenge for workers and companies alike," reports the daily.

If this initiative proves successful, it could be extended to the entire workforce and encourage other banks to adopt the same way of working.