New Zealand company to trial four-day work week

A New Zealand firm will be testing out a four-day work week in March and implement it in July if trials are successful, local reports said.

Perpetual Guardian, a trustee company, is purportedly the first major business in the country to do so, The Guardian reported on Friday (Feb 9).

The trial will take place for more than 200 employees in 16 offices in New Zealand over a period of six weeks, the NZ Herald said in a report.

Those who take part will not have any changes to their salaries, and they will not work longer hours for the four work days of the week – instead of working 40 hours a week, they will work for 32 hours.

“We have seen cases where employees work longer hours for fewer days of the week or they earn 75 per cent of their full-time salary, but that is not what we are doing here,” Perpetual Guardian founder Andrew Barnes told the NZ Herald.

Four-day work weeks have been tested in several countries such as Japan and the United States and in companies such as Amazon, Google and Deloitte.

In July last year, The Straits Times published a report about several Japanese companies offering such work weeks, with employees clocking the standard 40 hours a week over four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days.

IBM Japan has offered reduced hours since 2004. Employees may choose to work either 60 per cent or 80 per cent of the standard 40-hour workweek, with their salaries pro-rated accordingly.

In 2016, e-commerce Giant Amazon reportedly tested 30-hour work weeks for some employees at its Seattle headquarters.

Workers under the trials had the option to work Mondays to Thursdays and had to be in the office only from 10am to 2pm. The workers were paid as part-time employees, but received the benefits of a full-time employee who worked 40 hours per week.

According to the Ministry of Manpower’s statistics site, the annual average for total paid hours worked per employee in Singapore in 2016 was 45.5.

The figure was 45.1 as at September last year. Figures for the full year have not been released.

20 August 2018

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