The B.C. Green Party is calling on the NDP government to launch a four-day work week pilot project.
The plan calls for employees to work four days with no increased hours and no loss of pay with a tax credit offered to those businesses willing to take part.
“It rewards the business for moving to a four-day work week for its employees and it compensates the business for providing the data for government to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot,” said B.C. Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau.
Furstenau points to the success of a recent study of 61 companies in the United Kingdom which found 92 per cent wanted to remain with the four days after the pilot was over, 71 per cent reported employees were less stressed and burned out and that company revenue increased by 35 percent on average.
“We need to put the well-being and the work life balance of people at the centre and if we have a healthier and more well work force we’ll see a decrease in costs on our healthcare system on our public safety system,” Furstenau said.
But not everyone is in favour. David Screech says it would hurt, not benefit, his small business Gregg’s Furniture & Upholstery in Victoria.
“Medium-sized and small businesses are already struggling like mad in this climate,” he said. “The idea that we can lose a full day of production and pay our staff the same amount of money in a competitive market it makes no sense at all.”
And the opposition B.C. Liberals are leery as well.
“I think we have to be pretty cautious before we start throwing out new ways we can impose new costs onto small business,” said B.C. Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon.
The Ministry of Labour says no plans are in the works for any legislative changes to allow for a four-day week but that employers and employees can work out their own deals through contracts and collective bargaining.