A four-day working week promoted by one of Britain’s top doctors is a “radical” concept worthy of debate, considering the importance of a healthy work-life balance, a Canterbury health leader says.
A business leader in the region, however, says the idea is “nonsense” and imposing a rigid standard would be a backwards step.
Professor John Ashton, the president of the United Kingdom Faculty of Public Health, told British media this week that “a mal-distribution of work” was damaging people’s health.
Ashton called for Britain to phase out the five-day week, saying it would help combat high levels of work-related stress and illness.
Too many people were working “crazy” hours and a significant number of people were not working at all, he said.
“We need a four-day week so that people can enjoy their lives, have more time with their families and maybe reduce [workers’] high blood pressure.”
Why stop at four days? Think how much better off we’d be if we only worked three days a week? Or two days? Why not one day a week?
Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey, of the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB), said it was “a challenging and thought-provoking idea” worthy of debate.
No its’ not.
Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Peter Townsend said it was “nonsense” to suggest a four-day working week would solve everyone’s problems.
“I get a bit tired of people who just put straight lines in the sand. That is not how the world works these days. You deal with things on an individual basis. If someone in your workplace is [showing] signs of stress you deal with it,” he said.
“A young couple that might be paying off a mortgage with no kids might want to work 60 hours a week. It is all about being accommodating and flexible.”
Exactly. the idea of a law that sets a maximum working week for everyone is socialist nonsense.
Auckland manufacturing company Manson Marine & Engineering allows its staff to opt for four-day weeks once a month. Staff work 10-hour days that week and earn an extra 12 days off a year as a result.
That’s a great example of flexibility – at an individual company level.