Australia considers nationwide four-day workweek trial
Australia’s Senate work and care committee, which was appointed in August 2022 to focus on work and care balance, has recommended that Australia trial a four-day workweek where employers in diverse sectors and locations offer employees their full salary for 80% of their ordinary hours, while maintaining their full productivity and output.
As part of a larger drive to improve work-life balance, the committee also wants the paid parental leave (PPL) to be more than doubled to 52 hours. The Australia government has already committed to increasing PPL to 26 weeks by 2026 and wants to pay superannuation on PL, another key recommendation of a report submitted by the committee.
Other recommendations in the report include the right to disconnect from work by not answering phone calls or emails outside work hours, an increase in pay for employees in childcare, disability and aged care, and equal pay for equal work in the gig economy.
The committee has also proposed that the Fair Work Commission review the operation of the 38-hour workweek, including whether to introduce “stronger penalties” for longer hours, or work, health, and safety rules to prevent workload becoming a health hazard, reported The Guardian.
Barbara Pocock, Chair of the committee, said, “The committee’s report gives the government the blueprint it needs to revolutionise our workplace laws so Australians, and particularly women, can find a balance between working and caring responsibilities.”