Friday, 23 November 2018


Though not the first in the world—those honours go to Bolivia and New Zealand—on this day in 1918, in the thralls of revolution and revolt at the conclusion of the Great War, the Imperial Office for Economic Demobilisation (Reichsamt fรผr wirtschaftliche Demobilmachung) tasked as a caretaker government with enacting and enforcing reforms before the establishment of the Weimar Republic issued the decree that the workday would not be in excess of eight-hours without extra compensation.  The roots of the movement reached back nearly a century prior with Welsh philanthropist and welfare activist Robert Owen formulating a plan for his employees (Owen being a textile magnate) of “eight hours’ labour, eight hours’ recreation, eight hours’ rest.” The announcement by Germany was ratified as one of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles and became an international standard, one of the annexes establishing an office to monitor working conditions among the signatories.