18 June 2021

What do you think about a four-day workweek? This Committee wants to know

| Dominic Giannini
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Nicole Lawder

Committee Chair Nicole Lawder has called for submissions into the length of the workweek. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

After being stood down from her job in 2020 due to the pandemic, Hannah had the chance to re-evaluate her work-life balance after almost a decade in full-time work.

Nine-to-five is rarely in a journalists’ repertoire, but after working weekends and evenings, Hannah decided she would reduce her hours to a four-day workweek when she found a new job.

Now, both her productivity and wellbeing are up, she says.

“During the time I was stood down, I realised there was more to life than working all the time,” she said.

“I realised I could achieve a few hobbies, such as helping my partner on his family’s wool farm in the NSW Southern Tablelands and taking on some creative freelance projects.

“Working a four-day week has not only boosted my wellbeing, but I am more productive, with more energy to use on the days I am working.”

The ACT Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Economy and Gender and Economic Equality is calling for submissions into the possibility of moving to a four-day workweek, releasing a new discussion paper on the issue this week.

The discussion paper notes that reductions in working hours have occurred throughout history, including Europe moving from 10 to 16 hour working days to just eight in the 19th century.

In Australia, the last significant milestone to reducing work time occurred 38 years ago when the Australia Conciliation and Arbitration Commission introduced the 38-hour week wage principle, the discussion paper says.

Productivity is also tied to the number of hours worked. Research from Stanford University indicates overwork leads to decreased output as employees become less efficient due to factors like stress and fatigue.

A Swedish study between 2015 and 2017 into shorter workweeks for nurses at a care home found those who only worked 6-hour days, five days a week, logged fewer sick hours, reported better health and mental wellbeing, and increased productivity in some areas by 85 per cent.

Chair Nicole Lawder said the Committee did not have a view on whether the ACT should move to a four-day workweek at this time, saying the benefits would have to be weighed against the possible economic impacts.

“Arguments may be anticipated on both sides of the question as to whether a four-day workweek is the future of the working week,” she said.

“On one hand, a negative view may see it as costly and unaffordable, difficult to implement in some industries and sectors, and unrealistic. On the other hand, there are arguments for working fewer hours.

“Some are economic; some are about health and wellbeing, environmental sustainability and stronger communities; [and] some have to do with equity and equality.”

Submissions close on Monday, 1 November 2021 and public hearings will be held across November and December this year.

Further information on the inquiry, including how to make a submission, is available here.

Original Article published by Dominic Giannini on The RiotACT.

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I’m all for it as long as my pay stays the same as I’m on a low income as it is but the extra time with my kids would be great

I think this is an amazing idea!! coming from someone that works 11 hour days 5 days a week, 2 days off to clean, grocery shop, spend time with family and friends is just not enough!!

A brilliant idea!

Working fulltime while studying part time and dealing with everything life throws at you would be easier and mentally we could be healthier


Being able to break up the week and access services that may not be available on weekends or after 5pm most days would do wonders for many families.

As a primary school teacher, a 4 day face to face week with a one day work from home would allow me to actually catch up and be on top of my admin. We do get time during the week at school but rarely is that in a whole block where you can start and finish a task, do all your parent communication and plan and prepare for what’s coming up. Mostly in our job, that time gets interrupted by admin or students or something else priority comes onto your plate for that day which means staying later, getting there earlier, and spending weekend catching up. 4 day work week would revolutionise my life!

Ankita Bumia11:22 am 19 Jun 21

I had worked for full time with 1 kid and 2nd pregnancy all the way she turns 3. I found part time work- 4 days a week in a community sector and can’t explain in few words as it works as wonder for me!! So a very big YES for 4 days week concept.

Nilukshi Karunaratne9:31 am 19 Jun 21

I totally agree

Vince Carroll7:33 am 19 Jun 21

As a Veteran who for 15 years had no hoboes nor ability to give back to the community in the way of social events coach etc..
The 4 day working week or even just 6 hour working days would provide enormous benefit to productivity in both the work being carried out, but more importantly the ability to give back to the community. Hobbies are good for the soul and things like men’s sheds (that pass on skills to both men and women) would be able to pass on skills, knowledge and stories to a whole new generation.
We all feel the need to work hard and get money.. this should change to a more equal benefit to the person and the community as a whole.
The mental and physical health that would be benefiting from this shift in thinking is where we should focus.

I’m in support, even if the weekly hours are only dropped slightly and we work a 9 hour day Monday to Thursday, this would be much better than the current arrangement.

Parampreet Kaur10:24 pm 18 Jun 21

It will not only increase the productivity but also help personal and mental well being. Spending more time with family and kids always make life better. Will surely vote in for this.

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