Japanese electronics corporation Panasonic will now offer the option of four-day work weeks to its employees.
The decision was made amidst a growing number of Japanese and global companies offering longer weekends, according to Bloomberg, signaling a new wave of greater work-life balance.
Panasonic’s CEO Yuki Kusumi said in an investor briefing last week that the decision will allow employees to work another job or spend time volunteering on the extra day off.
“Our responsibility is to strike an ideal balance between the work style and lifestyle for our diverse human capital,” Kusumi said, adding that employees would also be able to work from home and move with spouses as needed.
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According to Bloomberg, other major tech companies who have already begun testing out shorter work weeks include Amazon, which started offering four-day work weeks to some of its employees back in 2019, and Unilever, which at the end of 2020 started a trial-run of shorter work weeks in New Zealand.
In June, the Japanese government made a formal recommendation that companies adopt a four-day work week. Still, according to a survey from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, only 8% of Japanese firms offered longer weekends as of 2020. Pharmaceutical company Shionogi & Co. also has plans to offer three day weekends. According to a Nikkei newspaper report, Shionogi & Co. will begin offering three-day weekends starting this spring. Other Japanese companies, Yahoo Japan Corp. and Sompo Himawari Life Insurance Inc., offer four-day weeks to employees who are also caregivers, the Nikkei reported.
After making a previous recommendation, Japanese lawmakers are also now contemplating an official proposal to implement a shorter work week for the country.