A Japanese politician from the Liberal Democratic Party is spearheading the push for a bill that would give workers a three-day weekend without affecting job security.
About the bill: House of Councilors member Kuniko Inoguchi, who represents a district of Chiba Prefecture, saw the potential to introduce the bill after the successful implementation of four-day workweeks by a few Japanese companies in the past, according to Sankei Shimbun via SoraNews24.
- “We have seen that Japan has a latent ability to create flexible work environments and workstyles,” the politician said.
- In 2019, Microsoft Japan gave its workers three-day weekends for the entire month of August. The experiment — which the company called the Work-Life Choice Challenge Summer 2019 — was a huge success, and Microsoft Japan saw a nearly 40% increase in productivity.
- Mizuho Financial Group introduced a similar experiment last year, giving its workers the freedom to take four-day weekends.
- The government is willing to hand out financial incentives to encourage smaller companies to support the proposed bill.
Pros and cons: The bill would give workers the option to take a three-day weekend whenever they’d like. This would boost team productivity and provide both company employees and the general public with various benefits amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
- One benefit is the reduced number of workers taking public vehicles and spending time with other people. The bill would help support the fight against COVID-19.
- Three-day weekends could also give employees plenty of opportunities to spend time with their families and pursue other ways to earn money or further their education.
- However, there are problems that employees must keep in mind. One issue is a cut in one’s salary, for workers might only receive 80% of it due to working four days instead of five.
- The pay cut could also change an employee’s status from full-time to part-time, but workers who take three-day weekends would still keep their jobs and the benefits that full-time workers receive.
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