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A 4-Day Workweek Is Being Tested All Over The World & Belgium Is The Latest To Consider It

Justin Trudeau has discussed the concept for Canada, too. 🇨🇦

A 4-Day Workweek Is Being Tested All Over The World & Belgium Is The Latest To Consider It

Same hours, same pay, longer weekend. That's the concept that is currently being discussed by the government in Belgium — which may become the latest country to implement a four-day workweek.

This week, officials in Belgium told POLITICO that the government is considering broader reforms of the labour market, as the COVID-19 pandemic has "radically changed the way we work."

They say the four-day workweek concept aims to "give a worker more flexibility to organize their working week," by reducing the number of working days from five to four.

The Belgian proposal suggests that the number of working hours would stay the same overall, with employees working an increased number of hours across fewer days.

More clarity is expected to be provided this weekend, but a spokesperson for Belgium's economy and labour ministry says consensus on the proposal is growing among Belgium's seven-party coalition government. Once the feds have committed to the plan, a more detailed concept will be created.

It wouldn't be the first country to test out a similar program. In Iceland, four-day workweek trials have been ongoing for several years and the results show the program to have been an "overwhelming success."

Spain is also set to trial it on a national level after the government agreed to launch a pilot project for companies who want to get involved.

What about a four-day workweek in Canada?

While there have been no formal commitments to the idea of a four-day workweek in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has acknowledged calls for similar tests.

"I think there are a lot of people thinking creatively about what the post-COVID world could look like," he said back in June. "I look forward to hearing a wide range of suggestions. But right now, we're very much focused on getting through this particular crisis."

While the concept is yet to take off on a federal level, towns and individual companies across the country are trialling the change and in many cases, it seems to be going pretty well.

In September, an Indeed study found that around 50% of small, medium and large companies in Canada would consider implementing a shorter workweek.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

A 4-Day Workweek Was Tested In This Small Canadian Town & Here's What Happened Next

The town has some big tips for anyone looking to convert.👇

Back in June 2020, the municipality of Guysborough in Nova Scotia tested out a four-day workweek for employees because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 60 full-time, permanent employees split into two groups and started alternating days off for a nine-month trial, with one group working Monday to Thursday and the other from Tuesday to Friday. The number of hours they worked stayed the same but were condensed over four days, instead of five.

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Employees have the same number of vacation days and even got raises!

Courtesy of Jamie Savage, Courtesy of Jamie Savage

A Toronto business owner has described her company's move to a four-day workweek as "hands down the best business decision I've ever made."

Jamie Savage — who owns recruitment company The Leadership Agency — told Narcity that she may have been one of the first business owners in the city to implement a four-day workweek.

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Every weekend is a long weekend for employees at a Montreal company that has officially announced it's moving to a four-day working week.

Video game studio Eidos said the new Monday to Thursday 32-hour working week will apply to both its offices — and the good news for employees is that their salaries are not affected, according to MTL Blog.

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Here Are The Pros & Cons Of A 4-Day Workweek In Canada According To An Expert

The prospect of a better work-life balance vs. quality of work possibly being hindered.

When it comes to what a four-day workweek in Canada would be like, an expert spoke to Narcity about the pros and cons that are associated with a different type of work schedule.

Andrea Bartlett, human resources director at Humi, a HR software company that supports Canadian businesses, noted that there are differing interpretations of a four-day workweek: a 40-hour workweek compressed to four days, a 32-hour workweek in four days with no change in salary or a modification of the expected hours to be worked per week.

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