Part of the platform: Ont. Liberal Party wants to study four-day work-week
At the Ontario Liberal Party's Annual General Meeting over the weekend, leader Steven Del Duca laid out a number of policy initiatives, including a pilot project for a four-day work-week.
Monday, Del Duca explained some of the rationale behind it, "We know that Ontario's economy has lots of regional differences. We know that there are lots of sectoral differences. I'd like the pilot to be, in a very open and transparent way, covering all of those differences. So we can get real evidence, real information back."
Del Duca referenced Zorra Township, in Oxford County, which launched its own four-day workweek trial just over a year ago. Officials say it was, in part, as a response to COVID-19.
"We've had work from home policies and flexible work policies for some time,” explains Mayor Marcus Ryan. “It just made us say, 'is there an opportunity to do more, provide more flexibility for staff and through compressing their work-week.’ Because they're working the same number of hours, expand the hours that the office would be open and provide more service to residents."
Because of COVID, they only have four months practical information to draw from to measure the impacts of the change. But Ryan says, to this point, the response from staff and community members has been encouraging. Especially, when they take into consideration the growing competition for talent in the workplace.
"For a small municipality, it's another opportunity for us to be innovative, and retract and retain employees who want to have a more modern lifestyle, a more flexible workplace," said Ryan.
"They want to see that their employer cares about them, cares about their well being, their professional development," Says Adam McNeill works with Prepr Lab, a non-profit organization that helps graduating students transition to the workforce.
He says employees and employers will need to work together to find arrangements that work for both.
"Anyone who was reticent about a work-from-home situation now has to admit that, 'ok this was possible.' I think that a lot of people are going to find that the four-day work-week is possible as well."
Ryan admits being a small municipality allowed Zorra to make the transition more easily but he's confident others will be adopting the practice in the near future.