Aussies to get four-day working week trial

Australian and New Zealand workers from more than 20 organisations are gearing up to trial a four-day working week with no cut to pay.

The organisations registered in Australia to take part are across a range of industries, from finance and retail to health, technology and construction.

They will trial a shorter work week for six months from August as part of a global pilot involving 70 organisations in the UK and 38 in North America that is being run by New Zealand not-for-profit advocacy group 4 Day Week Global.

Employees will be able to retain 100 per cent of their pay while reducing their work hours to 80 per cent, provided they commit to maintaining 100 per cent productivity – known as a 100:80:100 model.

The organisations registered in Australia to take part in the four day working week trial are across a range of industries including finance, retail, health and construction.

The organisations registered in Australia to take part in the four day working week trial are across a range of industries including finance, retail, health and construction.

Mortgage brokerage More Than Mortgages, social enterprise Our Community, marketing agency The Walk and mental health organisation Momentum Mental Health are among the organisations taking part in the Australasian trial.

The trial will follow similar efforts in other countries, including Iceland, New Zealand, Scotland and the United States, where companies have embraced greater flexibility in work hours as more people worked remotely and adjusted their schedules during the pandemic.

Thousands of employees in Britain started the first day of a four-day work week on Monday as part of the pilot program in the largest trial of its kind.

More than 3,300 workers in banks, marketing, health care, financial services, retail, hospitality and other industries in Britain are taking part in the pilot, the organisers said.

During the program, workers receive 100 percent of their pay for working only 80 percent of their usual week, in exchange for promising to maintain 100 percent of their productivity.

Researchers from Cambridge University, Oxford University and Boston College will work with participating organisations around the world to measure productivity, the environment, gender equality and quality of life and will announce results in 2023, the organisers said in a statement.

“A hundred years ago, we moved from working six day weeks to five, and we’re overdue for an update,” 4 Day Week Global said on its website.

Joe Ryle, the campaign director for the 4 Day Week Campaign, said the pandemic had led people to want a better “work-life balance”.

“They want to be working less,” he said.

Some Australian workers will be get their full pay for less days work over six months. Picture: iStock.

Some Australian workers will be get their full pay for less days work over six months. Picture: iStock.

Juliet Schor, a sociology professor at Boston College and the lead researcher on the project, said the aim was to “analyse how employees respond to having an extra day off, in terms of stress and burnout, job and life satisfaction, health, sleep, energy use, travel and many other aspects of life”.

Non-profit group 4 Day Week Global is led by entrepreneur Charlotte Lockhart and the chief executive of New Zealand’s Perpetual Guardian, Andrew Barnes. Perpetual moved to a four-day work week in 2018.

4 Day Week Global chief executive Joe O’Connor said that the workers have shown they can work “shorter and smarter.”

“As we emerge from the pandemic, more and more companies are recognizing that the new frontier for competition is quality of life, and that reduced-hour, output-focused working is the vehicle to give them a competitive edge,” he said in the statement.

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