The Fraser Institute’s report on the 32-hour workweek in Canada

The Fraser Institute in Canada has published a new report on the 32-hour workweek. Tyler Dawson explains in the National Post,

Canada could achieve a four-day work week and not change its standard of living — if workers managed to up their productivity by a couple of percentage points each year, and keep at it for the next decade, argues a new report from The Fraser Institute.

“We can’t simply wave the magic wand and say ‘you’re going to go to 32 hours a week in four days’ and have the same pay,” said Jason Clemens, executive vice-president of The Fraser Institute….

The report from the conservative-leaning think tank argues that if productivity increases by two per cent, each year, between 2018 and 2030, then the average Canadian worker could take home $900 more (adjusted for inflation) than they did in 2018, while also having a three-day weekend, year-round.

It’s an interesting report (view the original here) but it’s important to note that the report is not talking about the kind of 4-day week that companies I describe in my book SHORTER: WORK BETTER, SMARTER, AND LESS– HERE’S HOW have implemented. The Fraser Institute’s vision differs in two important respects.

First, it starts with the premise that wages and productivity have to go up in order for people to still be at their current income levels after taking a 20% pay cut.

Second, it assumes that productivity gains are incremental, and are mainly the result of improvement technological capacity.

In thinking about the future of work, and the kind of 4-day week we want, this does not have to be the model.

The companies in SHORTER have all reduced hours while also dramatically increasing productivity. Because they redesign their workdays under the pressure to maintain the same levels of productivity, you could say that they increase productivity BECAUSE they shorten working hours; they don’t shorten hours because they’ve increased productivity. They demonstrate that there’s a lot we can do in companies today, across a variety of sectors, to increase productivity pretty dramatically.

Companies don’t have to wait until 2030 to move to 4-day weeks. They can join the movement today.

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