Time for the four-day week ?

by John Quiggin on February 18, 2022

For more than a century after the achievement of the eight hour day (around 1850) in Australia and New Zealand standard hours of week were reduced steadily, with the shift to a five day week, annual leave and more. But progress came to a halt with the resurgence of neoliberalism in the 1980s. I’ve been writing about the need for shorter weekly hours, more holidays and so on ever since, mostly with no apparent impact.

But the pandemic may have changed things, if only by making us all feel more exhausted than ever. After I published this piece in The Conversation advocating a four-day week, I was deluged with interview requests. It’s not perfect, and some of the most striking turns of phrase are the editor’s, not mine. But it seems like a good way to start the discussion.