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Australian workers will soon be able to enjoy a FOUR DAY workweek

An increasing number of workplaces are embracing a four-day workweek with a small group of bosses applauding increased productivity and mental health benefits.

Professor John Buchanan of the University of Sydney Business School, who is also co-director of the Mental Wealth Initiative, said employees who worked four days instead of five were often more focused on work.

“Work-life balance is self-evident,” he told Daily Mail Australia.

Iceland and Spain have tried a four-day week but have yet to legislate, while New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured right, with fiancé Clarke Gayford) expressed support for the idea in 2020 without committing to new laws.

Iceland and Spain have tried a four-day week but have yet to legislate, while New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (pictured right, with fiancé Clarke Gayford) expressed support for the idea in 2020 without committing to new laws.

An increasing number of workplaces are embracing the four-day workweek with a small group of bosses hailing the productivity and mental health benefits (stock image)

An increasing number of workplaces are embracing the four-day workweek with a small group of bosses hailing the productivity and mental health benefits (stock image)

An increasing number of workplaces are embracing the four-day workweek with a small group of bosses hailing the productivity and mental health benefits (stock image)

Professor John Buchanan of the University of Sydney Business School, who is also co-director of the Mental Wealth Initiative, said employees who worked four days instead of five were often more focused on work.

Professor John Buchanan of the University of Sydney Business School, who is also co-director of the Mental Wealth Initiative, said employees who worked four days instead of five were often more focused on work.

Professor John Buchanan of the University of Sydney Business School, who is also co-director of the Mental Wealth Initiative, said employees who worked four days instead of five were often more focused on work.

New Zealand estate planning group Perpetual Guardian adopted a four-day work week in 2018, with founder Andrew Barnes embracing a system that gave full-time staff an extra day off to get chores done.

Professor Buchanan, who has specialized in industrial relations research for more than three decades, said an extra day off was good for productivity, citing the Kiwi company that drafts wills.

“He came to the conclusion that if he could give his employees an extra day off, they would be more productive at work instead of being distracted by sick children or doing chores,” he said.

A survey of 378 employers last year, conducted by the pensions group Mercer, found that 27 percent offered them the opportunity to work 38 hours over four days instead of five, up from 21 percent in 2017.

On a national level, only France has introduced a four-day workweek in the past three decades. 2008.

“Employers took a hard line against them,” said Professor Buchanan.

Iceland and Spain have tried a four-day week but have yet to legislate, while New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed support for the idea in 2020 without committing to new laws.

“I’d really encourage people to think about that if you’re an employer and in a position to do that,” Ms Ardern said in a live video on Facebook at the time.

A survey last year of 378 employers by the pensions group Mercer found that 27 percent of them were able to work 38 hours in four days instead of five, up from 21 percent in 2017 (pictured are swimmers at Bondi Beach in Sydney)

A survey last year of 378 employers by the pensions group Mercer found that 27 percent of them were able to work 38 hours in four days instead of five, up from 21 percent in 2017 (pictured are swimmers at Bondi Beach in Sydney)

A survey last year of 378 employers by the pensions group Mercer found that 27 percent of them were able to work 38 hours in four days instead of five, up from 21 percent in 2017 (pictured are swimmers at Bondi Beach in Sydney)

The four-day week worldwide

FRANCE: A 35-hour workweek was introduced in 1998 under Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, making a four-day workweek a reality until conservatives scrapped it in 2008

ICELAND: Tried idea from 2015 to 2019

SPAIN: Socialist government accepted the idea of ​​a trial under pressure from the left-wing party Más País in March 2021

NEW ZEALAND: Labor Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed his support in 2020

GERMANY: Largest union IG Metall proposed an idea in August 2020 to minimize pandemic austerity

“To think if that’s something that would work for your workplace, because it would definitely help tourism across the country.”

Professor Buchanan said that aside from a minority of “enlightened” employers, bosses were more likely to be reluctant to embrace a four-day workweek because they wanted control over their workforce.

“Employers are fundamentally interested in control – that’s what drives them,” he said

“In their minds, the more control they have over people, the more efficient they are.”

He said the idea of ​​a four-day workweek would only work if unions were behind the pressure, noting that during the gold rush of 1860, the Melbourne stonemasons had successfully campaigned for shorter working hours.

“Australia pioneered the eight hour day, people came from all over the world to see how Australia performed on the eight hour day.

‘You can really only change working time throughout the economy if the unions or the government take strong action.’

By 2020, just 14 percent of Australian workers were unionized, shifting power from labor relations to bosses, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows.

That marked a sharp 40 percent drop in 1992, shortly before the Labor government of former Prime Minister Paul Keating introduced company negotiations that ended wage negotiations across the sector.

“The bargaining power of the staff is actually quite compromised – the IR system is designed to weaken the power of workers to actually improve their conditions,” said Professor Buchanan.

But at least the pandemic has changed the proportion of Australians who work from home.

In August 2021, 41 percent of people with a job regularly worked from home, compared to 32 percent in August 2019, official figures show.

While Australians often think of full-time work as working 40 hours a week, the ABS defines it as 35 hours a week.

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