Media Statement by Fiona Patten MP
I welcome news the Victorian Government is examining adopting my policy of a four-day working week with no loss of income.
Media reports, sparked by coverage in The Age, show the policy is among a number being considered by the Andrews Government to take to the November election.
At the start of this year, I called for a four-day working week trial within the Victorian public service, with a view to rolling out this common-sense option across the economy as we recover from covid and capitalise on the widespread benefits of greater workplace flexibility.
Governments and businesses the world over have been trialling a 4DWW and finding it boosts productivity and profits, saves non-wage costs and reduces absenteeism caused by physical and mental ill-health.
It is the logical, rational next step in the reduction in working hours and improvements in conditions that have been happening since the industrial revolution began more than 250 years ago.
The successful adoption during the pandemic of flexible working arrangements opened the way for a 4DWW.
I have been fighting for this change for a long time. Reason Party took this policy to the last election.
The potential to simultaneously improve working conditions, work/life balance and productivity is huge; the Victorian public service accounts for about one in 10 of the state’s jobs.
We risk little by conducting a simple, limited trial, but much should we ignore the opportunity.
In 2018, the Parliamentary Budget Office estimated a trial within Treasury and Finance for 12 months would save the government close to $4 million in non-wage expenses.
Imagine that across the entire bureaucracy. Those savings could go to alleviating homelessness, mental health, front-line health workers, and so much more.
International evidence shows pretty much everyone wins from a 4DWW, and at the expense of none.
It’s healthy for the economy, society and the environment. It gives people freedom and control.
History shows us the reduction in working hours is both a cause and effect of higher productivity. History tells us now is the time to take this next exciting, liberating step.
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