STOCKHOLM – A Swedish town plans to allow randy employees to take sex breaks during the working hours.

One politician in the town of Overtornea has come up with a novel proposal to improve work-life balance and lift the local birthrate by giving municipal employees an hour-long paid break each week to go home and have sex.

Per-Erik Muskos, 42, wants to add to those benefits, by offering the municipality’s 550 employees the right to subsidized sex.

“We need to look after each other. If it can make relationships better it is worth it,” Per-Erik Muskos told the BBC. “It’s just three little letters. S-e-x.”

In introducing his proposal this week, he told fellow members of the town council that it would give a nudge to the dwindling local population, add spice to aging marriages and improve employee morale.

His proposal has generated praise, ridicule and criticism. Some critics fear single workers could while away their working hours on the dating app Tinder trying to find a date for their weekly interlude.

The radical proposal comes as countries across Europe are dealing with how to balance the rigors of modernity and work with the desire for better quality of life.

In France, which already has a mandatory 35-hour workweek, subsidized health care and long vacations, the Socialist government recently passed legislation granting employees the “right to disconnect.” The measure calls for companies with more than 50 employees to help ensure that work does not intrude into days off.

Sweden is already celebrated for its generous welfare state, including 480 days of paid parental leave, universal health care and a common ritual of coffee and pastry, known as fika, which is considered sacrosanct.

The country has among the highest fertility rates in the European Union, according to Eurostat, the bloc’s statistics agency, in part because of the country’s generous parental-leave systems and immigration. But the fertility rate has been decreasing recently.