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A Path to a 4-day week (with 8-hour days)

Summary:
Suppose(!) an Oz government or IR tribunal, wanted to shift the standard working week to four eight-hour days.Here’s one possible path: Reduce standard working week from 38 hours to 35, a demand of the trade union movement that’s been on the books for the last 50 years. With four weeks annual leave and 10 public holidays per year, that implies just over 1600 hours per year (excluding sick leave etc) 1/.. Now move to the four-day, 32 hour week, with the proviso that the full four days are worked in weeks with public holidays. That gives 1536 hours worked in a standard year 2/.. Now shift from four weeks annual leave to two, with the proviso that workers can put in up to eight 5-day weeks during the year and take the time off in an additional two-week block. That brings

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Suppose(!) an Oz government or IR tribunal, wanted to shift the standard working week to four eight-hour days.
Here’s one possible path:

Reduce standard working week from 38 hours to 35, a demand of the trade union movement that’s been on the books for the last 50 years. With four weeks annual leave and 10 public holidays per year, that implies just over 1600 hours per year (excluding sick leave etc) 1/..

Now move to the four-day, 32 hour week, with the proviso that the full four days are worked in weeks with public holidays. That gives 1536 hours worked in a standard year 2/..

Now shift from four weeks annual leave to two, with the proviso that workers can put in up to eight 5-day weeks during the year and take the time off in an additional two-week block. That brings annual hours back up to 1600 3/…

Thoughts?

John Quiggin
He is an Australian economist, a Professor and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow at the University of Queensland, and a former member of the Board of the Climate Change Authority of the Australian Government.

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