Jacinda Ardern proposes four-day work week

The change would "certainly help tourism all around the country"

Jacinda Ardern proposes four-day work week

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has proposed a four-day work week to allow people the flexibility to travel domestically, in a bid to boost the tourism industry

In particular, Ardern suggested employers should think about whether they’re in a position to amend work weeks, “because it would certainly help tourism all around the country”.

Ardern raised the idea in a Facebook Live video after meeting in Rotorua with tourism operators.

She added that industry must be thinking about how to “pivot towards the domestic tourism market”. While 60% of the market is made up of domestic travellers, Kiwis spend about $9 billion on international holidays

“The question for me is, how do we encourage Kiwis to go out and have that experience … and get out and about and visit some of the amazing places and tourism offerings that we have,” said Ardern.

“Some of the ideas being bounced around are about how we support New Zealanders to make the most of travelling around the country. Some are saying, ‘Well, if they had some flexibility in terms of their leave, they’ll do that.’

“I hear lots of people suggesting we should have a four-day week. Ultimately that really sits between employers and employees. But as I’ve said, there’s lots of things we’ve learnt about COVID and that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that.”

During the eight weeks between March and April 2018, NZ company Perpetual Guardian conducted a corporate experiment by allowing staff to only work four days a week. All other employment conditions, including remuneration, were unchanged.

The results found work/life balance improved significantly from 54% in 2017 to 78% in the post-trial survey. Moreover, staff stress levels dropped from 45% pre-trial to 38% post-trial.

The research also found productivity had increased by 20%, and employees were more engaged and enthusiastic.

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