ACT mulls 4-day work week for public service staff: reports

New working group for four-day work week trial to be set up

ACT mulls 4-day work week for public service staff: reports

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government will establish this year a dedicated working group for the trial of a four-day work week for ACT Public Service (ACTPS), according to reports.

Sky News reported in December that the ACT government has agreed to convene the working group to establish a roadmap to trial the system.

The trial is expected to include full-time and part-time employees working across administrative and frontline business units, allowing them to explore the alternative work arrangement without compromising their pay or conditions.

The move puts into action one of the three recommendations tabled in September 2023 by the ACT's Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality.

"The Committee recommends the ACT Government convene a working group, including but not limited to ACTPS Executive representatives and employee representatives, to develop a roadmap to inform a future trial within the ACTPS of a reduction model of the four-day work week with no loss of pay or conditions for ACTPS employees and that trial areas incorporate administrative and frontline business units and employees on full time and non-full time employment arrangements," the committee said in its report.

Government reservations

Despite the move, the government still expressed tis reservations in relation to the challenges that a four-day work week could impose.

"Whilst productivity may increase, it may not increase sufficiently or with enough longevity to fund the model in the longer term," the government said as quoted by Sky News.

"Further, staffing in many frontline areas will most likely have to increase to ensure adequate roster cover and ensure service delivery is maintained."

The four-day work week scheme has been gaining momentum in Australia as more employers trial the scheme, including Unilever.

In 2022, several Australian companies also joined a pilot four-day work week scheme where employees would work for less days without a pay cut.

Last year, the Senate Committee on Work and Care recommended the trial of a four-day work week as well as a "right to disconnect" policy across Australian workplaces.

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