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HR News – 04 April 2024

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WEEKLY INSIGHT – 4-Day Work Week not without drawbacks!

In the 1800s, Australian workers faced gruelling schedules, working six days a week for up to 14 hours each day without benefits like sick leave or holiday pay. Inspired by Britain, Australian Worker Unions pushed for a more balanced schedule under the slogan: “Eight hours’ labour, eight hours’ recreation, eight hours’ rest.” It took until 1916 for Victoria and New South Wales to enact the Eight Hours Act. 

The struggle for fair work conditions progressed, culminating in the Commonwealth Arbitration Court’s 1948 approval of a 40-hour, five-day workweek for Australians, later adjusted to 38 hours. The four-day workweek concept has recently gained popularity, with 63% of job seekers naming it a preferred benefit, showing a dramatic shift from the 85-hour weeks of the past to today’s 32 hours. 

Trials in 2022 revealed that a shorter four-day workweek might lead to disengagement, suggesting that the key to productivity lies in enhancing the overall work experience rather than merely reducing hours. As employers, it is understandable to be attracted to the prospect of elevated productivity and improved well-being of employees that a four-day workweek promises. However, we need to be meticulous and forward-thinking in approaching this opportunity. Our strategies should tackle the main challenges to ensure maximum benefits for our organisation and workforce alike. 

  • In 1800, the workweek was 85 hours, six days. 
  • By 1948, the workweek was 38 hours, five days.
  • In 2024, a new workweek has been proposed: 32 hours, four days. 
  • To truly understand its impact, we must examine the work experience, transcending mere hours on the clock.


2.  HR/IR SNAPSHOT – Only ½ of Employees trust their Employers

The relationship between employers and employees in Australia, as described by Garner, is considered “unsettled.” This relationship is marked by disconnection and dissatisfaction. Initially, there is mutual mistrust, with only half Australian employees expressing trust in their employers. Additionally, the issue of flexibility adds to the complexity, as only 26% of Australian companies claim full compliance with on-site attendance requirements. Moreover, there is widespread anxiety regarding productivity, with almost half of the Australian workforce feeling that their current performance levels are unsustainable.

The resolution of this matter hinges on the decision-making of company leadership. The top Human Resources priority for the year 2024 is enhancing the effectiveness of leaders and managers. There has been a noticeable change in the role of managers, with a greater emphasis on resolving conflicts. Recent statistics indicate that 57% of managers now act as mediators and are actively involved in resolving team conflicts.

  • The employer-employee relationship in Australia is considered “unsettled”. 
  • Only half of Australians trust their employers.
  • 26% of Australian companies report full compliance with their on-site attendance requirements.
  • There is a rise in productivity anxiety. More than 50% of Australian workers feel their current performance levels could be more sustainable. 
  • We need better decision-making in company leadership. 



Navigating the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Closing Loopholes) Act 2023 (Cth) is expected to be challenging for employers. This legislation has already started to reshape the landscape with its initial reforms. One notable change is the criminalisation of wage theft, which introduces a new level of accountability. Additionally, a manslaughter offence has been added under federal work health and safety legislation, showing a strict approach to workplace safety. Furthermore, small businesses facing insolvency will find changes in redundancy pay exemptions. 

Employers must stay ahead of the curve by understanding how upcoming changes might affect their operations. Attending the interactive Lunch and Learn session with John Dasey (a specialist employment lawyer at marvinHR) is an essential step for any forward-thinking manager. Admitted to legal practice in 2009, John brings a wealth of over 30 years of experience in workplace relations, backed by his Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety and a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Relations. 

His unique perspective sets John apart; before founding Dasey Legal in 2019, he spent more than a decade as a senior HR leader within large commercial organisations. He will provide legal insights and actionable knowledge gained from his experience in HR leadership. Seats are limited. 

You can click the link below to secure your spot – marvinHR members receive a free ticket (discounted from $170).

Closing Loopholes and other HR Legal Changes on Thurs, 18 July 2024. 

From 12.30 to 2.30 pm AWST at 1122 Hay Street West Perth, WA, 6005

Get Tickets:     



1. Harvard  – Onboarding New Employees — Without Overwhelming Them

2. Most work wellness programs don’t work – what’s more important is the Boss!

3. HR – Dismissing an employee who refused to return to the office was unfair, rules FWC

4. Stanford – Zoom In… or Out? Why Face-to-Face Meetings Matter

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