What’s going on:
Labor and Greens senators have strongly recommended that Australia start a four-day work week at full pay, as well as double the paid parental leave allowance to 52 weeks, according to The Guardian.
On Thursday, the Senate Work and Care Committee, chaired by Barbara Pocock of the Greens, called for policies that could drastically adjust work-life balance. These proposed policies would provide more time for caring responsibilities, thereby improving quality of life.
Supporting many of the Greens’ industrial relations policies, the committee endorsed the right to disconnect from work by not answering phone calls or emails outside of work hours.
Why it matters:
The committee urged the federal government to initiate a four-day week experiment, in which employers across different sectors and regions would offer their staff their full salary for just 80% of their usual hours, all while ensuring they maintain their full level of productivity and output.
Labor government senators expressed their approval of the recommendations “in principle,” yet argued that the trillion dollars of debt left behind by the previous Coalition government should be taken into consideration when it comes to social policy.
How it’ll impact the future:
Pocock said that Australia is “mired in a work and care crisis which demands bold reform to fix an economic, gender equity and workforce catastrophe. The committee’s report gives the government the blueprint it needs to revolutionize our workplace laws so Australians, and particularly women, can find a balance between working and caring responsibilities.”
The Coalition senators cautioned that a number of the proposed measures would have a hefty fiscal impact and could limit the “flexibility” of the employer-employee relationship.