How would you like to cut your work week down to four days?
The idea is being floated by BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, who argues the model could lead to a better work-life balance for British Columbians.
On Thursday, Furstenau pitched a pilot project that would offer businesses tax credits if they shifted to 32-hour work weeks for employees, without cutting their pay.
Participating businesses would share data with the province on metrics such as productivity, revenue and employee satisfaction.
Furstenau pointed to recent four-day work week trials around the world, which she said have shown not just strong employee satisfaction, but better business outcomes.
“For employers and businesses, what’s interesting is that they say the productivity from their workers either goes up or stays the same,” she said.
“So 40 hours of work, 32 hours of work, the productivity does not go down … you don’t need the extra eight hours of that person’s work. But they also indicated that they saw their costs go down.”
A recent trial in the United Kingdom led by the University of Cambridge and Boston College concluded that a four-day work week significantly reduced stress and illness in the workforce.
Sixty-one companies with about 2,900 employees participated in the six-month study. Thirty-nine per cent of those workers reported lower stress, and 71 per cent had reduced levels of burnout.
At the end of the six months, 56 of the 61 companies that participated said they were continuing with the four-day work week, and 18 confirmed they were making the change permanent.
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