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Unilever 4-day working week trial in New Zealand
Planet Labor, 2 December 2020, n°12256 - www.planetlabor.com

From 07 December and for a one-year trail period, 81 employees working in sales, distribution and marketing roles at the Unilever food giant in New Zealand will be working in the office for 4 days a week while being paid for 5. The UK multinational has explicitly stated that the daily working hours of these employees will not be extended. “If we end up in a situation where the team is working four extended days then we miss the point of this. We don’t want our team to have really long days, but to bring material change in the way they work,” explained Nick Bangs, managing director of the New Zealand subsidiary. Unilever stated that if the trial proves conclusive then the 4-day working week could be implemented across its 155,000 employees worldwide, although it is aware that such a change would be a challenge, especially as regards its implementation within factory settings. Noteworthy is the fact that in 2019 Microsoft successfully implemented a shortened working week in Japan (c.f. article No.11465). While the pandemic has sparked renewed interest in this type of organization, and in May New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, even encouraged companies to opt for this solution, Unilever has stated that the coronavirus crisis was not the cause of its 4-day week project.