SHORTER working hours combined with payments from the State to stop the firing of workers in companies that are viable helped many countries deal with the slump, according to a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The report concludes that such schemes had an "economically important impact on preserving jobs during the downturn", because they prevent companies from losing experienced staff with skills.
The survey looked at the Irish scheme which pays dole to employees who move from a five-day to a three-day week. But the report's authors excluded Ireland from the calculations because Ireland's surge in unemployment distorted the eventual figures. Germany and Japan benefited most from the short-time work schemes of the 16 countries analysed.
Short-term work schemes are not always good news for employees, however. The benefits were limited to those on permanent contracts which had the adverse effect of increasing the split in the job market between people with regular jobs and those with part-time jobs, the OECD warned.