I read the other day that the Greens are suggesting we consider a 4 day working week.
Has anyone thought about this idea? Apparently France has been going that way for over 100 years.
The Greens cited poor work/life balance as being a primary reason for the idea, allowing people more time to be with family/etc.
My thoughts however, were -
1) Would we maintain a 2 day "weekend", or make it into a 3 day weekend, with the majority of businesses closing 3 days per week? If not, the workforce mostly suddenly becomes some kind of shift or job-share scenario.
2) How would people handle a 20% cut in pay? Or would we work longer hours on the 4 days we would be working?
3) How would business cope with this change to its workforce? Logic dictates businesses would need to employ more people to cover the work, but reality says - no, they'd just expect more from their current workers - yet they would be doing less hours...?
The less extreme idea was to move toward a 6 hour working day, which is apparently an ideal time frame to work to ensure optimal performance. Again, for most "9-5, 5 day/week" jobs that's a big drop in hours, and thus pay...
Even if such a move did create more jobs, what is even considered "full employment" these days?? In my day (ie circa 1994/5 High School Economics), 7-7.5% unemployment was considered full employment - with that 7% being made up of people between jobs (short term), people who work seasonal jobs, long-term unemployed, and ... um... hippies? These days however, employment figures tend to be below that rate anyway - so do we need to work harder at job creation? (Ok - we do in Geelong - Geelong sucks for jobs.)