Victoria should lead the nation in four-day working week trial: Greens


Victorian Greens Leader Samantha Ratnam and candidate Gabrielle de Vietri will today launch the Greens’ proposal for a Victorian four-day working week trial in the seat of Richmond.

The four-day working week trial would be a $60 million fund to support the public sector and private businesses to transition to a four-day work week model.

Victorian-owned entities and departments with an annual turnover of less than $50 million would be eligible to apply for the funding, which might be used to increase staff numbers in frontline workplaces, or support systems and technology within workplaces to adapt to a new schedule.

The trial would require businesses to transition full-time workers to 4 days with no loss of pay or entitlements, and either a proportional reduction in working hours or the equivalent pay rise for those already working part time.

The selection criteria will prioritise female-dominated workplaces as part of the Greens commitment to closing the gender pay gap and ensuring equity in the workplace. The trial would take place over two years.

Trials of a four-day work week around the world have been shown to boost wellbeing, improve gender equity in the workplace and redress the work-life balance. Similar pilot programs have been recently launched in Canada, the US and Ireland, the latter of which found no drop in productivity among participants, and a dramatic increase in employee well-being.

The four-day working week trial is expected to:

  • Create jobs
  • Support local business
  • Reduce gender inequality in the workplace and at home
  • Address stagnating wages
  • Relieve overworked Victorians
  • Increase productivity and wellbeing.

For the public sector, consultation with public sector unions will help determine the best parameters for a trial. The Victorian Government would measure the social and economic benefits to workers and businesses over the course of the trial.

Quotes attributable to Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:

“Victoria could lead the nation in trialling the 4 day work week, and we could be world-leaders in wellbeing by making time for people to enjoy their lives.

“These trials are already taking place in various private sectors and around the world, and results are outstanding. Workers often achieve the same or greater output, and with a much more reasonable work-life balance.

“We’ve been tricked into believing that working five days a week is normal, but if we can achieve the same results in four, as the trials are indicating, why wouldn’t we take some of our time back to spend with loved ones on passion projects?”

Quotes attributable to Victorian Greens Richmond candidate, Gabrielle de Vietri:

"After the pandemic, workers in all industries are exhausted.

“We need to help Victorians get their life-work-balance back on track so they have more time to spend with their family, exercise, look after themselves, and spend time doing the things they love.

“Victorian workers deserve a break. We expect this trial will show a dramatic increase in quality of life, in productivity and in well-being for workers and their families.

“With the Liberals in shambles, it’s up to the Greens to put big ideas on the table, and with more Greens in parliament we’ll push the government to trial a four-day work week.”