Fingers crossed this comes to Melbourne.
Five days, 38-40 hours. Sometimes (well, often actually) it can get on top of the best of us. We tend to find ourselves feeling that if the working week was reduced just that tiny bit, we might even end up being more productive, despite the decrease in hours. [Featured Image: basiczto, Shutterstock].
Well, it seems that feeling is a common one across the world. Last year, Sanna Marin, Prime Minister of Finland, called for a four-day working week with six-hour days while a group of Labour MPs in London even called for a similar action in the UK to ease the effects of post-lockdown working life.
Closer to home, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern made the suggestion that some Kiwi businesses could trial a four-day working week in order to help rebuild the economy and Microsoft in Japan trialled the shorter-working week in 2019 and concluded that it had been a success.
Now, Spain is the latest country to call for action, as it looks set to begin a trial of the four-day working week after the government accepted a proposal from the small leftwing party Más Páis. Iñigo Errejón, member of Más Páis, took to Twitter to confirm that the arrival of the idea.
Con la jornada de 4 días (32h.) hemos abierto un auténtico debate de época. Eso siempre despierta polémicas, porque abre brecha. ¿De qué otra cosa más importante tiene que ocuparse la política que del tiempo de vida? pic.twitter.com/2WhWMEzTkc
— Íñigo Errejón (@ierrejon) February 6, 2021
The full details of the new pilot scheme are to be released gradually, but the initial proposal included a three-year, €50m setup that let companies introduce reduced hours without great risk. Más Páis suggested that participating companies be 100% covered in year one, 50% in year two and 33% in year three as part of the trial.
Party members have estimated that around 200 companies could partake in the initial pilot. This could also include 3,000 to 6,000 workers. No date has been set for the scheme as of yet, but Más Páis members hope it can begin by autumn time (our spring).
The four-day working week has already been trialled by some Australian companies. However, many of these have seen a reduction in pay or an increase in hours worked on each of the four days so that the total number remains the same.
Speaking to The New Daily last year, Director of the Centre for Future Work Jim Stanford said, ”A four-day work week has a lot of potential, but it has to be done right.
”Workers have to continue to be paid at full-time rates, otherwise it just becomes another source of underemployment, which is already a huge problem in Australia.”
So, here’s to hoping that the future of work is fewer hours but higher productivity and the same pay.