Four-day work week trial 'very interesting' - Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway

  • 19/07/2018

The Government says a law change won't be necessary to allow businesses to implement a four-day working week.

Auckland company Perpetual Guardian says its four-day working week trial has been a success, and it might now become permanent.

Chief executive Andrew Barnes says fears productivity would drop and staff would get stressed out trying to cram more work into fewer hours have turned out to be unfounded.

"What we've seen is a massive increase in engagement and staff satisfaction about the work they do, a massive increase in staff intention to continue to work with the company and we've seen no drop in productivity," he told NZME.

He's now hoping the board approves making the four-day week permanent.

Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says the trial had a fascinating result.

"I think it's very interesting, and I'm really keen to work with any businesses that are looking at how they can be more flexible for their staff and how they can look to improve productivity whilst working alongside their staff and protecting terms and conditions," he told Newshub.

Mr Lees-Galloway says a change in law isn't needed if other companies want to follow suit.

"The Employment Relations Act already allows for flexibility in work time, and it also allows for people to be on a salary rather than an hourly wage - so I'm not sure that changes are necessary."

Mr Barnes said the trial isn't about how much time off people should get, but about productivity and how it can be achieved. Per hour he says productivity increased 30 percent, more than making up for the 20 percent reduction in working hours.

Previous trials overseas have suggested there could be health risks if workers are forced to stay on the job longer each day to compensate.

The trial at Perpetual Guardian didn't involve forcing employees to stay at work longer each day.