Victorian state election: Daniel Andrews to consider four day working week and push for free dental

bourbiza30 September 2022Last Update : 2 months ago
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Victorian state election: Daniel Andrews to consider four day working week and push for free dental


Daniel Andrews will lobby for free dental care and examine the merits of a four-day working week if re-elected as Victorian Premier for a third consecutive term.

A policy document detailing Labor’s secret plans to entice voters has been leaked ahead of the November 26 state election.

The draft document was recently emailed to rank-and-file party members to get their feedback before the policies are finalised and publicly unveiled next month.

It details plans to consider the social and gender equity benefits of a reduced working week with no loss of income.

Labor could also reinstate the Workers Family Picnic Day and declare Christmas Eve after 6pm a public holiday, The Age reported.

A four-day work week trial by some employers has already seen higher staff satisfaction and no drop in productivity in workplaces across the globe, with one Australian employer claiming there was ‘no way’ his company would go back to five-day weeks.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured with wife Catherine) hopes to be re-elected to power for a third term

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured with wife Catherine) hopes to be re-elected to power for a third term

Fast-food and retail workers could also benefit from a re-elected Labor government which will look to ensure 15 per cent of parking spaces remain free for them.

The party would also lobby the federal government for universal dental care and advocate a national social housing agreement. 

Labor would reserve gas for local use to ensure production ‘directly serves the interests of Victorian households and businesses’.

It will also work with the federal government to bring the Outer Metropolitan Ring Rail Line, a proposed freeway connecting the Hume Freeway north of Melbourne to the Princes Freeway south-west of the city to fruition.

The leaked policies have already been marred by controversy due to the furious response from unions and rank-and-file members.

‘The Labor Party is the democratic sum of its membership and its affiliated unions. Its policy platform should not be written by faceless advisers who clearly have little regard for union members,’ Transport Workers Union secretary Mem Suleyman wrote to Labor officials.

The United Firefighters Union claimed it wasn’t consulted as officials slammed the drafting and contents of the policy document.

A re-elected Labor government in Victoria would look at the benefits of a four day working week (pictured, a barista in Melbourne)

A re-elected Labor government in Victoria would look at the benefits of a four day working week (pictured, a barista in Melbourne) 

A Victorian Labor government would lobby their federal counterparts for universal dental care (stock image)

A Victorian Labor government would lobby their federal counterparts for universal dental care (stock image)

‘The UFU was not contacted, and was not provided an opportunity to comment, on the draft that was released – despite the UFU being affiliated to the Labor Party since the 1930s,’ union secretary Peter Marshall told The Age.

The leaked policy document comes as companies across the world are trialling a four-day work week as part of a program started by 4 Day Week Global, a not-for-profit set up by businessman and founder of New Zealand trustee company Perpetual Guardian, Andrew Barnes. 

Mr Barnes began trialling a four-day work week at Perpetual Guardian in 2018 and established the global movement upon discovering higher staff satisfaction levels and productivity benefits.

Denis Moriarty, the founder of the Australian social enterprise Our Community, has trialled a four-day work week since August.

The state government is expected to unveil its finalised policies to voters next month (pictured, hospitality workers in Melbourne)

The state government is expected to unveil its finalised policies to voters next month (pictured, hospitality workers in Melbourne)

He said staff were happier thanks to the extra day off and still 100 per cent productive.

‘They’re loving it. They’ve got their lives back,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘It’s been good for the workplace, good for employees and the company.’ 

The managing director said his staff were spending their extra day off with family or taking up a new hobby.

‘There is no way we will go back to five days,’  Mr Moriarty said.

Our Community has operated with the new schedule by reducing and shortening meetings.

Denis Moriarty (pictured) is trialling a four-day work week at his company, Our Community. He told Daily Mail Australia his employees are 'loving it' and he has no plans to revert back to five days once the trial period ends

Denis Moriarty (pictured) is trialling a four-day work week at his company, Our Community. He told Daily Mail Australia his employees are ‘loving it’ and he has no plans to revert back to five days once the trial period ends 

Our Community still pays employees the same wage despite reducing their hours by 20 per cent.

Some companies operate on four day weeks with longer hours, but Mr Moriarty believes it’s not ideal to force more hours in. 

‘I don’t think you should be calling it a four day work week if you cram more hours in those four days.’ 

He added that it was time for reform in workplaces after years of little change.

In the global trial run by 4 Day Week Global, companies were sent questionnaires about their experiences with their reduced work weeks.

In the global trial, 88 per cent of companies said there were 'extremely likely' or 'likely' to continue on with a four-day work week after the trial ended (stock image)

In the global trial, 88 per cent of companies said there were ‘extremely likely’ or ‘likely’ to continue on with a four-day work week after the trial ended (stock image)

Of the 41 firms that responded, 88 per cent said the four-day week was working ‘well’; 46 per cent said productivity was the same; 34 per cent said it had ‘improved slightly’; and 15 per cent said it had ‘improved significantly’.

But the most surprising result was that 88 per cent of companies said they were ‘extremely likely’ or ‘likely’ to continue on with a four-day work week after the trial ended.

Other benefits from a four-day work week included a reduction in carbon emissions and improved staff mental health. 

An Australasian trial is currently being run and overseen by researchers at the University of Sydney, Boston College, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and the University of Queensland.

Andrew Barnes (pictured), the founder of New Zealand trustee company Perpetual Guardian, set up 4 Day Week Global

Andrew Barnes (pictured), the founder of New Zealand trustee company Perpetual Guardian, set up 4 Day Week Global



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