Employees at some Australian companies have started working four-day weeks with no reduction in pay in a new trial that began in August.
The six-month pilot study, involving 20 companies in Australia and New Zealand, began in early August, a spokesperson for the non-profit organization 4 Day Week Global confirmed to 7NEWS.com.au.
While the Australian trials have only been going on for a few weeks, the spokesman said the trial so far looks “very encouraging”.
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The pilot involves companies in sectors ranging from finance to fashion and follows similar trials around the world, such as in the UK, where thousands of workers from 70 companies tested the four-day week in June .
The counterpart for workers receiving 100% of their salary for working only 80% of their usual week is that they maintain 100% of their productivity.
The program is run by 4 Day Week Global in partnership with researchers from Auckland University of Technology, University of Queensland, University of Sydney and Boston College.
Andrew Barnes, the entrepreneur who designed the four-day week and later created 4 Day Week Global, said the program isn’t just about work-life balance and productivity.
“We recognized long before the pandemic that the five-day week was no longer suitable for our purpose, and as we tested and studied the four-day week, it became clear that it is a necessary part of the solution to restoring the climate balance, among many others. other documented benefits,” he said.
“We simply cannot continue as we have, and we welcome the forward-thinking companies and business leaders across Australasia who are driving this change and showing the way forward.”
Identical pilots are also underway in Canada and the United States, while the trial in Ireland has been completed.
Iceland had conducted the largest pilot project of a shorter working week between 2015 and 2019 so far, with 2,500 public sector workers involved in two large trials – which found no drop in productivity among participants and a dramatic increase in employee well-being.
Calls to shorten the working week have gained momentum in recent years in several countries.
As millions of employees have shifted to remote work during the pandemic – reducing costly travel time and costs – calls for greater flexibility have only intensified.
Government-backed trials are due to take place in Spain and Scotland later this year, the 4 Day Week campaign has announced.
4 Day Week Global CEO Joe O’Connor said workers had shown they could work “shorter and smarter”.
“As we emerge from the pandemic, more companies are recognizing that the new frontier of competition is quality of life, and that performance-driven, reduced-hour work is the way to give them an edge. competitive,” he said.
Researchers will measure the impact the new work model will have on productivity levels, gender equality and the environment as well as worker well-being.
– With CNN