Jacinda Ardern the Prime Minster of New Zealand has suggested employers could consider a four-day working week and a range of other flexible working options as a way to boost tourism and help rebuild the economy.
She also hopes in the long-term this system will help employees address persistent work/life balance issues.
A study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that because of its reliance on tourism, New Zealand’s economy could initially be one of the hardest-hit by the coronavirus among developed nations.
The government, which came into the crisis with its books in relatively good shape, has been handing out billions of dollars in temporary wage subsidies to try to prevent mass unemployment. More than half the nation’s workforce has suddenly become reliant on government handouts.
In a Facebook live video Ardern said: “I hear lots of people suggesting we should have a four-day workweek. Ultimately that really sits between employers and employees. But as I’ve said there’s just so much we’ve learnt about Covid and that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that,” Ardern said.
“I’d really encourage people to think about that if you’re an employer and in a position to do so. To think about if that’s something that would work for your workplace because it certainly would help tourism all around the country.”
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern found out there are no exceptions when it comes to social distancing after she was turned away from a cafe because it was too full under coronavirus guidelines.
Ms Ardern and her fiance Clarke Gayford decided to get brunch on Saturday at Olive, a restaurant in the capital Wellington, two days after the country relaxed many of its lockdown rules, including reopening restaurants.
But social distancing rules still apply and require groups to remain at least 3ft apart from each other, with many restaurants limiting their seating to comply with the rules.
It emerged on Twitter than the country’s leader had missed out on a seat, though she was later able to enjoy her meal after a table became available.