Ardern Asks Companies to Consider 4-Day Workweek

Clay Curtis
May 22, 2020

The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has told employers to consider moving to four-day work weeks to help support employees' wellbeing and domestic tourism.

"Think about if that's something that would work for your workplace, because it certainly would help tourism all around the country", she said.

The decision on whether to institute a shorter work week is an individual one between employer and employee, according to Ardern.

Ardern said Monday that more flexible work options could boost productivity and domestic tourism, especially with foreign tourists now prohibited from entering the country.

As preferred prime minister, 39-year-old Ms Ardern, whose Labour party is now in a coalition with the Greens and the nationalist New Zealand First party, had 63 per cent, while rival opposition National Party leader Simon Bridges polled just 5 per cent.

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Ardern said that it would be up to employers to enforce this workweek, but that it would help greatly.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said a four-day workweek could help revive the country's wilting economy from the coronavirus downturn.

Ardern said she has heard many ideas, including suggestions from people who want to see a four-day work week or more flexibility around travel and leave. During a Facebook live, she said that reducing the number of working days will not only help people maintain a work-life balance but also help promote domestic tourism since worldwide travel is still barred. "But as I've said, there's lots of things we've learned about COVID and just that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that".

She added that the government should be open minded about the "range of options" available to policy makers.

"Think about exploring your backyard", she said. The country shut down immediately and ultimately recorded 1,503 cases, with 21 deaths.

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