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Four-day work week trial is coming: 'It is time'

Australia should trial a four-day work week, according to a new senate committee report.

Four day work week
Aussies could soon be working fewer hours for the same pay, under a new proposed trial. (Source: Getty)

Aussies could soon be working four days a week and receiving the same full-time pay, under new recommendations from a senate committee report.

The Committee on Work and Care has called for a federal-government-backed trial of the four-day work week, based on the 100:80:100 model. This is where employees retain 100 per cent of their salary while reducing their hours to 80 per cent and maintaining 100 per cent productivity.

The trial would be spread across sectors and locations and would be conducted in partnership with an Australian university to measure the impacts.

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“It is time for a review of standard hours, the frequency with which they are over-run without recompense, and for more widespread experimentation with shorter working weeks,” the report said.

The four-day work week has been trialled at companies in Australia and overseas, including through 4 Day Week Global, as well as other countries like Iceland, Belgium and the United Kingdom.

“We heard evidence from several employers - including one conducting a trial where workers maintain their full-time wage while working a four-day week - that giving workers greater control over their rosters can enhance productivity,” committee chair and Greens senator Barbara Pocock said.

Other reported benefits include improved work-life balance, health and well-being, the normalisation of care as part of work, better employer engagement and trust, as well as environmental and cost-saving gains.

It follows the end of the world's largest four-day work week trial last month, where 90 per cent of the companies involved decided to stick with the shorter working week.

The government-backed trial is just one of 33 recommendations made by the committee to improve people’s work and caring responsibilities. Other recommendations included the right to disconnect from work, and offering a year of paid parental leave.

“It is time for a new social contract, fit for the 21st Century workforce, that does not put the burden on workers juggling care responsibilities around their jobs,” Pocock said.

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