Australia considers implementation of four-day workweek

A labour union is calling on the government to axe the standard five-day workweek to boost productivity and employee wellbeing.
By: | September 20, 2022

The Australian Nurse and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) is advocating for a four-day workweek to allow employees to better balance work with their responsibilities.

A federal parliamentary inquiry looking into the impact of work on persons with caring responsibilities is currently underway, with a report set to be published in February next year.

ANMF’s Victorian branch has submitted to the inquiry, pushing for a reduction in full-time weekly work, from 38 hours to 32 hours, or four days instead of five. The 38-hour work week, when initially introduced in Australia in 1983, “was set in consideration of a very different domestic context”, the ANMF said.

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Paul Gilbert, ANMF Victorian branch assistant secretary, said the notion that 38 hours is a “magical number” is outdated. He said, “All of the evidence shows that a (four-day working week) pays itself off. At the moment we have an incredible number of people on leave, fatigued.” 

The move to switch to a four-day working week is growing momentum across Australia and is already implemented in some workplaces with great success, according to 7NEWS.