Interior Minister Otto Schily has come down hard on the cliché of the laid-back civil servant, who spends his day watching the clock. At a conference of the German Civil Service Federation in the town of Bad Kissingen, the Social Democrat called for an extension of the government employee’s work week. Instead of the current 38.5-hour week, Schily said the civil servants should start working 40 hours. He also said the state should monitor early retirements and encourage civil servants to stick with the job until the official retirement age of 65. In addition, the minister suggested introducing incentive-based pay for its civil employees, which would mean a loosening of the current wage tariffs, a proposal the public service trade unions reject. Schily’s statements could hardly have been surprising for the country’s 1.2 million government and state employees who have come under criticism for receiving preferential treatment at a time when the rest of the economy has had to tighten its belt.