Ardern now proposing a four day working week

On Tuesday the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern proposed having more public holidays to help promote internal tourism to aid recovery from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. That was criticised, including by NZ First – see Extra public holiday proposal squashed by NZ First.

Yesterday Ardern upped the ante, suggesting changing to a four day working week to help boost retail recovery.

NZ Herald:  Jacinda Ardern floats four-day working week as part of recovery

New Zealand is considering introducing a four-day working week to help boost domestic tourism, productivity and employment after the Covid-19 crisis battered the economy.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern flagged the idea of using the shorter working week and additional public holidays as part of a “nimble” and creative approach to resuscitating the economy.

Ardern pointed out the pandemic had taught the country much about productivity as workers adjusted to lockdown.

“I hear lots of people suggesting we should have a four-day work week,” she said.

“Ultimately, that really sits between employers and employees. But as I’ve said there’s just so much we’ve learnt about Covid and that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that,” Ardern said.

“Think about if that’s something that would work for your workplace, because it certainly would help tourism all around the country.”

This suggests the Government isn’t considering making a four day week mandatory, but more that companies could consider it.

The issue was raised in January: Government holds back support for four-day working week

The four-day week has been promoted in New Zealand by Perpetual Guardian, which found that it boosted productivity among its staff by 20 per cent.

Finland’s new Prime Minister Sanna Marin has reportedly called for the introduction of a flexible working schedule that would involve a four-day-week and six-hour working day.

Charlotte Lockhart, chief executive of 4 Day Week, the company set up to publicise the concept, said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should follow Marin’s lead.

Legislating for a four-day week would be difficult, she said, because of the variables involved.

But Ardern could make a significant difference by indicating her support. “It would be great if she made even a public statement … to come out and say there’s real merit in this and we’d like to engage in the process.”

There was widespread support for the idea around the world, she said.

For some businesses it may boost productivity and cut costs, but for other businesses it would likely reduce custom, for example in hospitality, tourism and retail, who tend to operate seven day weeks.

Employment Minister Willie Jackson said it was not part of the Government’s work programme.

Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the Government supported workers and businesses working together to make their workplaces more flexible.

Ardern is now suggesting that companies consider four day weeks and more working from home, but there’s no sign of the Government making it compulsory.

Some employees are already on four day weeks anyway due to a reduction in hours (and pay) due to Covid.

Website: 4 day week

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37 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  21st May 2020

    My suggestion of adopting the Aussie existing practice of the RDO rostered day off per month makes more sense. Its achieved by around an extra half work per day. The day varies in the month for each employer and if there is a holiday it makes a longer weekend.

    Some seem to thinking of the 4 day week with a government paid day off for those companies who production has decreased , thats used previously and probably repeated in Germany

    Reply
  2. duperez

     /  21st May 2020

    Ardern saying “I hear lots of people suggesting…” and promoting discussion will be equated to Trump saying “Lots of people tell me that injecting disinfectant is great for your complexion.”
    Any chance that on some sites today she’s a communist dictator making us change our way of life?

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  21st May 2020

      Office workers.✔️ Rubbish collectors and bus drivers.❌

      Reply
    • Duker

       /  21st May 2020

      They are a tiny fringe group but its great to see them associated with their natural home , the National Party.

      You mean like German communist dictatorship and their Kurzarbeit
      “FRANKFURT/HAMBURG (Reuters) – A tried-and-tested German model of sending workers home in exchange for job guarantees during downturns could help the European Union limit the damage from the coronavirus pandemic.
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-germany-kurzarbeit/germanys-short-time-work-fix-offers-europe-a-crisis-model-idUSKBN21Q1SY

      Reply
      • David

         /  21st May 2020

        All very well for the urban elites with their salaries and state workers.
        Working class on hourly rates be damned as the lay offs start and they can look forward to Jacindas 20% payout.
        The arrogance came on real quick with her poll ratings

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  21st May 2020

          Great for factories that dont need 7 day operation.
          4 days and a ‘Working for families subsidy’ for the 5th day , keeps more people in work, as the Germans have known.
          As I said Australian manufacturing uses RDO and office type jobs ( urban elites?) had the 7.5hr day/37.5 hr week instead.
          Its only 1 day per month not the more extreme 1 day off per week for RDO

          Reply
  3. NOEL

     /  21st May 2020

    Nah that’s an issue for employers/employees.
    Many already work 4 days but 12 hour shifts.
    Some employers overseas claim increased productivity by 4 days at standard hours but they are in IT and the like.
    For most others it’s moving the lost hours into the remaining days.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  21st May 2020

      Yes. When I went off the collective and onto an IEC for more $ I ended up working quite a few 12 hour shifts. They’re tolerable if you only work four days.

      Reply
      • NOEL

         /  21st May 2020

        And usually the employer gets the added advantage of not have to offer overtime.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  21st May 2020

          Yeah. That was the downside. A lot of my hours worked weren’t paid for.

          Reply
    • Pink David

       /  21st May 2020

      The dairy industry is 12hrs on 4/4. Fairly typical for 24/7 operations.

      Reply
  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  21st May 2020

    Silly talk – Ardern speciality.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  21st May 2020

      Watched a few minutes of her Show yesterday. She IS starting to get too cocky & pally with the girlz, imo. So there IS some silly talk now, especially during the Q& As.

      She’s got used to their adoringly reporting everything she says. Earlier her messages & answers were more carefully thought-through & controlled.

      Level 2 is actually turning into a shambolic mishmash of ‘wait & see what rule changes I announce next fortnight’.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  21st May 2020

        I reckon the average IQ has dropped 20 points during the lockdown. The roads are full of moron drivers. I’m in Keri and it’s like navigating through crowds of random zombies liable to do anything, stop anywhere.

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  21st May 2020

          Yes, but to be fair, Al, you do choose to live in a neck of the woods where, if any of the locals do actually bother to signal, it is best regarded not as a firm communication of intent, but more a tentative opening of negotiations. 😀

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  21st May 2020

            I did have one happy moment when the zombie in front of me faced with a stop/go diversion drove straight into the closed lane and stopped stuck while I zoomed around her into the open RH lane. But of course there were another 8 zombies in front of her crawling thru Paihia at 30m/hr.

            Reply
            • I once had to move hastily on my motorbike into the middle of the road to avoid being hit by a carload of hoons who thought this very funny. But I had the last laugh. The side of the street further along was being dug up and a bus was stuck there as there wasn’t room for it to pass the dug up part. There were ? cars stuck behind the bus, among them the hoons. I sailed past, and refrained from making a rude gesture. I’d like to know how long it took to free the line, as it was in the main street.

            • Gezza

               /  21st May 2020

              Refraining from making rude gestures in such instances is always good policy. God is too good at spotting those & organising an embarrassing punishment within minutes of completion.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  21st May 2020

              I find it more satisfying to smile and wave happily. It enrages and confuses them much more without risking karma.

            • I did wave, but they wouldn’t have seen a smile under my helmet. I did that gracious Queeny wave as I sailed by.

              It would have taken blimmin ages to clear the logjam. There’s a low barrier which would be impossible to drive over.

  5. Pink David

     /  21st May 2020

    So, who pays?

    Reply
    • Kimbo

       /  21st May 2020

      True, although in the interests of fostering genuine and well-rounded debate by suggesting a wider perspective, the same question was asked when…

      slavery was abolished

      as too was child labour

      the forty hour working week was legislated

      health and safety legislation for the workplace was introduced

      anti-pollution measures were taken

      trade and business liberalisation occurred

      annual leave was increased from three to four weeks

      and Waitangi and Anzac Day were Mondayised.

      Reply
      • Pink David

         /  21st May 2020

        Of course. All these changes were possible off the back of increasing wealth (with the exception of slavery being abolished).

        NZ is heading into an economic recession not seen for decades and this is another layer of cost. The cost will ultimately be on the people who work. All jobs will have reduced productivity when you cut hours by 20%, that is a loss of value that has to be accounted somewhere.

        Reply
        • Duker

           /  21st May 2020

          Where is there ‘cutting hours by 20%’?
          RDO works by increasing daily hours
          4 day week is the keep more people in employment when demand is lower

          Reply
          • Pink David

             /  21st May 2020

            This 4 day week is based on increasing working hours in the 4 days is it?

            You can;

            Work the same amount in fewer days for the same money
            Work less for less money
            Work less for the same money subsided by someone else.

            Which one is this?

            The idea of 4 day weeks increasing employment has been around a long time, and it assumes people are completely fungible. They are not. Even if it worked, this is about accepting lower productivity so that more people have jobs. It’s the equivalent of taking away the shovels and replacing them with teaspoons.

            The most amusing part about RDO’s is that the vast majority of people I know use the time to moonlight. As anyone with useful skills, and a desire to get ahead would. A few on my current project are taking the site RDO’s and spending the time in another companies workshop producing work for the same project.

            Reply
      • Duker

         /  21st May 2020

        Still flogging the dead/incorrect Mondayised horse
        Queens Birthday and Labour day are mondayised as they are always on a Monday – hence the term and legally are 1st Monday in June and 4th Monday in October

        Waitangi and Anzac continue observance AND Holiday on the actual day, except for weekends when the holiday only is the following monday.

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  21st May 2020

          Er, as on average Waitangi and Anzac fall two days out of seven on a weekend, and as a significant portion of the work force are still engaged in a Monday to Friday only then the change resulted in a net drop in productivity. You may describe it as “only”, but nonetheless it is still a cost.

          But either way, you do know that the primary thrust of my post, albeit for the purposes of fostering debate, is in general overall agreement with what you are arguing on this thread? Honestly, D, I get the impression that if it were current left wing doctrine, you would gladly and repeatedly argue the sky is not blue. 😳😂

          Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  21st May 2020

          Plus, I seem to remember that when it suited [deleted, please use correct names for politicians] and she was justifying delaying the switch from level 4 to level 2 until after a weekend, she didn’t count the Saturday and Sunday as “work days”. Ok, so if February 6 or April 25 falls on a weekend, but there is a holiday on the following Monday, then by Ardern’s logic, and in empirical fact, there is a loss in productivity.

          Now, I’m anticipating with interest your efforts to argue that Ardern’s reasoning doesn’t count in this situation, which I’m picking, dissembling and obfuscation to the contrary will boil down to the tacit reason…it’s different when the left do it.

          Reply
      • Kimbo, you probably know that many working class parents were opposed to the ending of what we would call child labour, as they needed the money to keep the child and were wondering how they would survive without it. For them, keeping a child at school until they were 13 was a waste of time when they could be out earning. No wonder when one reads about the conditions that the really poor lived in.

        Reply
        • Kimbo

           /  21st May 2020

          …they’re so poor, they’re forced to have children simply to provide a cheap alternative to turkey at Christmas. (Blackadder III, Episode 4, Sense and Sensibility)

          Reply
    • Umm,…..lemme see…the taxpayer ?

      When is the PM’s 20% wage cut going to start ?

      Reply
  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  21st May 2020

    More unnecessary costs and stuff ups caused by the Govt’s brain-dead level 4 lockdown:
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12330992

    Warehouses that could easily have operated safely now buggered up with disorganised and overflowing stock.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  21st May 2020

      Hang on, I’ll have a look & see if there’s a video …

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  21st May 2020

        Looks like while Jacinda foolishly let Ashley’s bureaucrats stop folk working in an essential industry they’re getting on top of things & now lots more jobs have been created in the call centre, parcel packing, sorting, distribution & delivery sectors. The CEO of NZ post reckons they’re now much better placed to deal with any future lockdowns should there be any, & maybe if there’s a next time, this time Ashley will be told to keep it real becos folk need jobs and the political cost of screwing around with online deliveries is too high.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  21st May 2020

          Initial mistakes were excusable but the failure to correct them swiftly was not. Too few competent people were making decisions and the Govt was lulled into inaction by the utterly incompetent and uncritical media. I think you can add Bridges to that.

          Reply
  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  21st May 2020

    Looks like the Health Ministry’s contact tracing app is yet another technical and administrative stuff up:
    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12333733

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  21st May 2020

      At least part of Ashley’s video was relevant to tne story.

      All sounds very messy, but there likely aren’t any IT experts with app-making or – vetting knowledge on tap in health dept, & to be fair their team probably also has to check everything with the Privacy Commissioner & others every time it’s tinkered with again.

      Reply

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