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The Aussies getting a 4-day work week

Aussie workers walking and Unilever brand on phone.
Unilever is the latest company to trial a four-day work week for Aussie staff. (Source: Getty)

Consumer goods giant Unilever is trialling a four-day working week for its Aussie staff, following a successful 18-month pilot in New Zealand.

The multinational company behind brands like Dove, OMO and Magnum ice-cream, said staff would retain 100 per cent of their salaries over the 12-month trial and were still expected to deliver the same productivity.

This is known as the 100:80:100 principle, it said, where employees are paid 100 per cent salaries, while working 80 per cent of the time and delivering 100 per cent of business outcomes.

The New Zealand trial of 80 employees saw a 34 per cent drop in absenteeism. More than two-thirds of staff (67 per cent) reported a better work-life balance, while 33 per cent reported a drop in stress.

Like the New Zealand trial, Australian employees will be able to choose which day or set of hours to take off.

The trial would maintain productivity by removing low-value tasks, Unilever said, including moving to “less frequent but more efficient meetings” and “fewer emails”.

“By removing project processes and protocols that add less value, throughout our week, we are able to free up time to work on items that matter most to the people we serve, externally and internally,” CEO of Unilever ANZ Nicky Sparshott said.

“The experiment builds on Unilever’s ambition to enhance the well-being of both its people and business.”

Workers can also split their four days between home and the office.

The trial will begin on November 14 and will run for 12 months.

Calls for 4-day work week grow

The Victorian Greens have also proposed a four-day working week be trialled in the state.

Under the $60 million proposal, full-time employees would still receive the same pay or entitlements, while part-time employees would receive a proportional reduction in working hours or an equivalent pay rise.

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